Emily Tan
Mar 10, 2016

Publicis Media formation leaves questions about Asia unanswered

Publicis Groupe's recent formation of Publicis Media, and the consolidation of its media brands announced early this morning, have left many questions unanswered regarding the disposition of talent across the newly formed brands in Asia-Pacific.

L-R: Amour, Seah, Boyle, Teo, Mulryan
L-R: Amour, Seah, Boyle, Teo, Mulryan

According to sources, the Groupe’s media-agency employees have yet to learn how they are to be realigned. The only internal communication that has been shared company-wide is a letter from Steve King, containing much the same news that has already been published by Campaign UK and picked up by Campaign Asia-Pacific (see, "Publicis Media names regional CEOs and axes brands in agency shake-up").

The only mention of Asia-Pacific contained in the announcement was the appointment of Gerry Boyle to head Publicis Media in the region as CEO. The letter also said that in-country roles would only be announced in the coming weeks.

When contacted by Campaign Asia-Pacific, Boyle was only able to issue the following statement regarding the restructure:

We have such amazing talent within our agencies across Asia and now is the opportunity to really come together as one to create something exceptional for our clients and people. I am extremely excited and greatly privileged to be part of this new chapter. 

While the consolidation of the Groupe's media business was much anticipated following its previous restructuring announcement, the dispensation of regional and local-market personnel following the dissolution of Vivaki, Starcom Mediavest Group and ZenithOptimedia remains unconfirmed. 

Global brand leads for the Groupe's consolidated list of four brands have been named: Lisa Donohue as global brand president for Starcom, Vittorio Bonori as global brand president for Zenith, Brian Terkelsen as global brand president for Mediavest Spark, and Andras Vigh as global brand president for Optimedia Blue 449.

In Asia-Pacific, existing regional leads whose future roles and titles remain a mystery include:

  • Jeffery Seah, CEO Southeast Asia, Vivaki
  • Mike Amour, President Asia-Pacific, Starcom Mediavest Group
  • Bertilla Teo, Greater China and North Asia CEO, Starcom Mediavest Group
  • Gareth Mulryan, CEO, Southeast Asia, ZenithOptimedia

No one approached by Campaign Asia-Pacific this morning was able to speak as to the new titles for these regional heads. Seah could only say that he was under embargo. Mulryan and Amour were unable to responde by press time. 

Blue449 is currently led out of its newly opened HK office by MD Nico Guiridlian.

"It's good they are bring some clarity to the aligned roles," commented Greg Paull, principal of R3.  "Vivaki was always a concept rather than a reality, and clients are demanding the true scale that a combined Zenith and Starcom should bring."

Paull added that the two challenger companies have a branding challenge on their hands. "No one outside of the US has heard of Spark, and Blue 449 had their official launch in Asia just a week ago, now have to stick Optimedia in front of the namecard. Some work is needed here."


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