McPetrie takes over from APAC CEO Mark Heap, who has been acting China CEO since Michael Zhang’s move to a GroupM role in late 2014.
Reporting to both Heap and GroupM China CEO Patrick Xu, McPetrie will start his new role in August, based in Shanghai. His goal will be to reinforce MediaCom's positioning as an agency that understands the "complex interplay between content and connections".
He will be heading a revamped leadership team that consists of Karl Wu as chief operating officer, Fabian Kietzman as chief digital officer, Jason Theodore as Shanghai managing director and Michelle Yin as finance director. The company has about 400 employees in China.
At ZenithOptimedia, McPetrie was responsible for 22 markets, more than 700 staff and billings of more than €1.7 billion (US$2 billion). Previous roles in a 17-year career at the same agency include commercial director for ZenithOptimedia International and CEO of ZenithOptimedia Russia.
“Rupert really stood out due to his great blend of talent, temperament and experience," said Heap. "He also really impressed us with many examples of how he built a thriving business in Russia and CEE through talent development, client relationship and product delivery initiatives. In many instances the market context had similar challenges to those we experience in China."