Staff Reporters
Apr 15, 2015

OMD hires Stephen Li from MEC as APAC CEO

SINGAPORE - Stephen Li, currently APAC CEO for GroupM agency MEC, will move into the same role with Omnicom's OMD, as the current OMD APAC head, Steve Blakeman, moves to a "senior global role" with OMD in London.

Incoming and outgoing APAC CEOs Li (left) and Blakeman
Incoming and outgoing APAC CEOs Li (left) and Blakeman

Li's appointment will be effective in October. Both Li and Blakeman will continue in their current roles until that time, according to an Omnicom spokesperson.

An MEC spokesperson said that the agency is not yet ready to announce Li's replacement. 

In a brief telephone call with Campaign Asia-Pacific, Li said that while his role at MEC would officially continue until the later part of the year, he hoped to take a break over the summer and take up his new role "refreshed".

He added that his time at MEC had been "a wonderful time—the happiest and most fruitful of my professional life". He said it had been "a tough decision to change" but one that was driven by "a desire to change and do something different outside the comfort zone".

Li, who will report to both Cheuk Chiang, Asia-Pacific CEO for Omnicom Media Group, and global OMD CEO Mainardo de Nardis*, has been with MEC since 2006 and has held his current post since 2011. Prior to MEC he held senior roles with Batey, Lowe and WPP’s team HSBC.

Blakeman has been APAC CEO at OMD since early 2011, prior to which he was chief integration strategy officer with IPG Mediabrands. Omnicom did not specify the global role he will be taking on.

“We conducted an extensive and intensive search across the region to find OMD’s next leader, someone who is not only experienced, but capable of taking the OMD brand to the next level," Chiang said in a statement provided to Campaign Asia-Pacific. "Stephen’s proven track record in building strong client partnerships, driving digital growth, evangelizing creativity and inspiring teams is the perfect combination needed to ensure that a powerful brand like OMD stays at the forefront."

Chiang praised Blakeman for driving four years of continued success in growth, thought leadership and creativity. "He could not have left the brand in a stronger place and we can’t thank him enough for his leadership,” Chiang said.

Li said that OMD "epitomises creative communications planning" and that he looks forward to driving its "continued growth and ambition" in the region.

"OMD are doing many of the right things. They're client-centric and digital-centric, and it feels like the right kind of change," Li said.

This article has been updated to include direct comments comments from Stephen Li.

* 16 April: Added mention of Li reporting to de Nardis, at OMG's request.


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