Viola announced he was stepping down as managing director of the unit last October. He returned to his native Australia as chief growth officer, but continued to oversee the account in the interim, splitting his time between Melbourne and Hong Kong.
Cheung will work closely with Martin Lever, who joined McCann from TBWA as ECD for the Cathay Pacific business in July.
In a statement, Simon Large, Cathay Pacific’s GM of marketing, loyalty programmes and CRM, said the airline’s strategy has changed to become digitally-led. It is increasing investment in digital work for both the Cathay Pacific and Asia Miles brands. “It is critical that our agency partners have the depth of skills required across the digital disciplines to build our brand and drive sales efficiently and effectively," Large said.
He added that the new leadership at McCann’s team “is in an extremely strong position” to support the transition.
Cheung has worked as digital strategy director for the Cathay Pacific team for the past seven months. He joined from Tribal DDB, where he served as regional digital strategy director.
Charles Cadell, president of McCann Worldgroup Asia-Pacific, said Cheung “has proven immediate success as a team leader” and “brings the right balance of experiences across brand strategy, integrated planning and creative solutions”.
Cheung noted that Cathay Pacific is one of a small number of global brands based in Hong Kong and called it “one of the most robust opportunities in the market”. McCann has held the account for 20 years, with Viola overseeing it for 14 years.