For the past four years, SMG has been using a cluster model that grouped countries by ‘market dynamics’. The group claims that the previous model helped accelerate growth, but the new structure reflects shifts in how its clients are operating. As part of these changes, SMG has hired industry veteran Mike Amour to head Asia-Pacific as president, excluding North Asia.
With more than 20 years of experience, Amour has held roles as APAC CEO and chairman with Grey Group and Project: Worldwide, an independent, global network of wholly owned agencies. He has also held roles at McCann-Erickson Worldgroup, Wieden+Kennedy and TBWA Worldwide.
Amour will be based in Singapore, reporting to John Sheehy, SMG’s president of global operations. Four sub-region leaders will report to Amour: Hanley King, chairman in India; Jeffrey Seah, chairman in SEA; Chris Nolan, CEO in Australia; and Alistair Jamison, CEO in New Zealand.
Bertilla Teo will continue in her role as CEO of SMG Greater China and North Asia, which includes China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. Teo reports to Sheehy.
Iain Jacob, currently president of dynamic markets, will take on the newly created post of president, EMEA. Retaining their posts are Monica Gadsby, CEO of LATAM and SMG’s US multicultural operations, and SMG’s North American CEOs, Brian Terkelsen of MediaVest USA and Lisa Donohue of Starcom USA.
The decision to appoint a head for Asia-Pacific is timely, as the sub-regions have started to equalise in maturity, Sheehy told Campaign Asia-Pacific. “I think we’ve maximised our growth in pushing SEA, India and Australia-New Zealand independently,” he said. In 2013, SMG was ranked the second-largest network in Asia-Pacific by Recma, after Mindshare.
“The benefit of putting Mike [Amour] in an APAC role is to now produce a consistent collaborative result for the region by exporting best practices from each sub-region,” Sheehy said, adding that the exception is Greater China. That territory remains significantly different from the rest of the region and thus warrants independent operation under Teo.
“While it’s very easy to call Asia-Pacific one region, the truth is, it’s a mix of geographies, economies and abilities,” commented Amour. “I believe harnessing the power of SMG in the region will take a collaborative environment geared toward using not just what’s great in APAC but globally to benefit the client.”
Amour’s main task, said Sheehy, will be “connecting the dots”, something which Amour’s role at Project:Worldwide has uniquely prepared him for. “Over the last three years, we’ve talked a lot about verticals," Sheehy said. "Which has worked great. We’ve built up a lot of vertical capability in areas such as mobile, social media and programmatic. Connecting all those dots will be what’s important going ahead.”
SMG's global moves reflect this strategy. This reorganisation follows a series of acquisitions and partnerships aimed at strengthening the network’s capabilities in data-driven content, precision marketing and technology. Recent acquisitions include content agency Relevant24 (R24) and adtech company RUN. MRY, a social-media and youth-marketing agency within Publicis Groupe, also recently moved under the SMG umbrella.
“Our industry landscape around the world is shifting so seismically—and with such velocity—that to be a true agency of tomorrow, we must strategically integrate best talents and solutions wherever they exist,” Laura Desmond, SMG's global CEO, said in a press statement. “As our clients' businesses are changing, we’re pivoting our organisational structure with them to accelerate the next wave of growth in addressable media and data-driven content all over the world.”
Amour has demonstrated acumen as a skilled operator and businessman in communications, according to SMG. In his most recent role at Project: Worldwide, Amour led the company to double-consolidated revenues in three years via organic growth by creating new partnerships and startups and through acquisitions, SMG said. Prior to this, Amour was founder and MD of Mayam, where he provided CEO-level coaching and corporate/marketing strategy development for clients as well as investing in new businesses.