Robert Sawatzky
May 25, 2018

OMG seeks new China CEO

Succession-planning underway for Doug Pearce, who will become non-executive chairman as of 15 July.

Doug Pearce
Doug Pearce

As it continues making key leadership changes across Asia-Pacific, Omnicom Media Group is now seeking a new CEO for China. Current CEO Doug Pearce, recently elevated to OMG chairman in China, is currently helping the search for his successor after internally signalling his desire to look at other opportunities earlier this year. 

"He's working through the process with us," APAC CEO Tony Harradine told Campaign Asia-Pacific.  "He has a lot of passion for that business still, and it needs to be put in the right hands." 

Pearce will transition to non-executive chairman on 15 July while beginning a new venture in outdoor adtech, according to the company.

This latest shuffle comes after several high-profile changes at OMG, not the least of which saw Harradine promoted from chief investment officer to APAC CEO in April to replace Cheuk Chiang, who left the business. 

In Greater China, Deric Wong was named OMG's chief executive in Hong Kong last month after serving as CEO of OMD in that market. Ray Wong, PHD's Hong Kong chief departed last October.  Just over a year ago, OMG China reshuffled its senior agency leadership, promoting Anna Chitty to CEO of PHD in place of Aaron Wild, who shifted over to lead OMD.

"It's a big change, as it's one of our bigger markets, but I think it's coming at the right time," Harradine said of Pearce's move. it comes at a time when the competitive Chinese market is likely to see new investments, he added. "There may be more changes to come but it's all in the spirit of taking the business forward."

A veteran of more than 30 years in the advertising and media arena, Pearce has been OMG's Greater China CEO for nearly seven years. During that time, the media holding group focused on building specialist digital capabilities in China in areas like search, analytics and ecommerce and worked towards integrating them in a single integrated solution. It also signed key data mining agreements with major players like Tencent and added digital bench strength through acquisition.  

Prior to OMG, Pearce was Accenture's Asia-Pacific and media lead and has also served as China CEO at Starcom and held senior roles at Leo Burnett in Shanghai and Melbourne.    

"Testament to Doug for doing the job that he's done and recognising that now it's time to hand the baton to somebody else to pick it up and carry on from there," Harradine said. 

Said Pearce:

Given the incredibly strong leadership we now have in place at both OMD and PHD across Greater China, I feel that this is the right time to hand over the reins and allow a fresh leadership approach to take the business forward. I am extremely proud to have been a part of our Group’s journey in Greater China over the course of the past seven years, and have every confidence that the agencies will continue to flourish. I am always here for them whenever they need my counsel and look forward to collaborating with my former colleagues in my future ventures as well.

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