Staff Reporters
Jul 20, 2022

Nielsen's Robert Gilby is Dentsu International's new APAC CEO

After a short stint at the media measurement company, he replaces Ashish Bhasin and will oversee 11,600 people in 18 markets.

Robert Gilby
Robert Gilby

Dentsu International has appointed Robert (Rob) Gilby as CEO APAC, Dentsu International, effective 5 September 2022. He joins Dentsu from Nielsen where he is APAC president. He replaces Ashish Bhasin, who retired in December 2021. 

Gilby had a short stint at Nielsen, having been appointed to his role in October last year. 

He will be based in Singapore and will report to global CEO Wendy Clark, joining Dentsu International's executive leadership team. At Dentsu, he will be responsible for building relationships with key media owners, brands and agencies. Gilby will oversee APAC’s 11,600 people in 18 markets.

Gilby has 30 years of experience in the media and entertainment industry. He has worked in Asia Pacific for over 25 years, and was CEO and founder of Blue Hat Ventures, an investment and advisory firm before joining Nielsen. He also had stints at WarnerMedia and Walt Disney. Gilby has also held non-executive board and advisory roles at Singapore's Ministry of Communications & Information, the InfoComm Media Development Authority and the Singapore Media Festival.

This experience was a key reason for his recruitment, Dentsu International CEO, Wendy Clark noted in a media statement. “He clearly demonstrated his long-term vision, values-based leadership style and passion for building high-performance, diverse teams that is fundamental to the way we do business at Dentsu,” she stated.

Gilby said a combination of Asia-Pacific growth and Dentsu’s focus were key reasons for signing up. “I was instantly drawn to Dentsu’s compelling vision with its rich heritage as the only holding company born out of Asia,” he claimed. “It is a privilege to be leading this region with the world looking to the Asia-Pacific region as its GDP growth is forecasted to remain strong, the emerging middle-class booms and rapid digitisation and investment in homegrown platforms leapfrog existing technologies.”

His appointment is the latest in an ongoing revolving door among top management at Dentsu International in recent years. More recently, Phil Adrien, the creative CEO left in April, a replacement hasn’t yet been named. Merlee Jaymee also left as creative chief in June. 

John Riccio was named head of Merkle’s APAC business also in April this year. The agency also appointed Farrokh Madon as its creative chief in the same month.

Key markets such as India have seen a raft of changes, with a series of top management departures and appointments too. 

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