Rahul Sachitanand
Aug 12, 2021

Phil Adrien's top priorities as Dentsu's CEO, Creative for APAC

As the network continues to recover, he will work with heavy hitters such as Fred Levron and Merlee Jayme, reach out to key clients and try to build a borderless creative offering at Dentsu.

Phil Adrien's top priorities as Dentsu's CEO, Creative for APAC

Dentsu International has appointed Phil Adrien as CEO, Creative, Asia-Pacific. He will report to Ashish Bhasin, CEO, Dentsu Asia Pacific and Jean Lin, global CEO, Creative, Dentsu International.

In his new role, Adrien will be responsible for driving the regional growth strategy for Dentsu’s creative business, in addition to his role as managing director of Creative Group in Dentsu Singapore, reporting into Prakash Kamdar, CEO Dentsu Singapore. The appointment commences with immediate effect with the role based in Singapore.

Adrien, who is a member of our 40 under 40 listing in 2020, will work with Merlee Jayme, newly appointed chief creative officer in Asia Pacific. Dentsu's creative business in this region includes global agencies Dentsu Mcgarrybowen and Isobar, and regional and local agencies such as Dentsu one, Dentsu Webchutney and Taproot Dentsu.

"Ultimately in my role it is understand about the needs of clients in the region," Adrien told Campaign-Asia Pacific from the UK where he is on holiday. "(I will be) reaching out to key clients  and prospective clients ..and collaborating with our teams and clients to ensure they have got the best of Dentsu available to them to help accelerate their growth...to bring new ideas and new thinking to them and their business, but also challenge them with new ideas that can fuel their growth."

Adrien will have to manage a shifting market where Dentsu is trying to bundle its offerings across creative, media, tech and data, even as clients demand flexibility and nimbleness. "Their (clients) ask of us is really simple: they want breakthrough creative ideas, access to the best people we have in our business, unlock opportunities within their business and unlock growth," he told Campaign Asia-Pacific. "They want flexibility and don't want to be encumbered by big, heavy structures ..they want speed and agility to go to market with relevant content.  

Fred Levron and Merlee Jaymee

This news follows the recent announcement that Fred Levron has been named global chief creative officer, leading the network’s creative agenda and its portfolio of creative agencies worldwide, and Jayme being given a regional chief creative officer remit. "We think we are really well-positioned with solutions such as Content Symphony (a platform offering aggregated media, creative, production and performance data)  to deliver on the speed and agility that our clients are looking for from a content standpoint," he added. 

Adrien wouldn't comment on further agency brand integration in the region. 

Adrien is excited to work with both Levron and Jaymee to push the envelope on creativity in APAC. Adrien points out that Dentsu had a strong year creativity-wise in the region, with some markets such as Taiwan, which netted a grand prix at Cannes, performing strongly. "India and Dentsuwebchutney also had a banner year, so there is plenty to be excited about," he added. 

The challenge for Adrien, as a creative leader, is to address the dichotomy between the agility being demanded by clients and internal demands to bundle offerings and seek bigger contracts. Dentsu has recast its business into three focus areas - creative, media and CXM - and will whittle down its agency brands into six core brands. "Rather than integrating these businesses, we are looking at creating a team-ing platform to create borderless solutions (and) partner across markets and build capabilities for our clients to help unlock growth and tackle a problem that's keeping a CMO up at night."   

Lin, Dentsu's global CEO, Creative, Dentsu International said, “Dentsu wants to be the most integrated agency network in the world, and Phil’s expertise will play a key role in achieving this vision in the region."

Adrien, meanwhile, said his appointment is an opportunity to work with clients on "breakthrough creative ideas and access to our best talent, to radically collaborate to solve their biggest challenges and to unlock opportunities to accelerate their growth."

Ashish Bhasin, CEO, Dentsu Asia Pacific added that “this promotion is a natural step for Phil who has vast experience building strong relationships with clients in different verticals and markets across creative, media and digital."

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