Robert Sawatzky
May 20, 2020

Susana Tsui tasked with expanding Tatler's digital media reach in SEA

The former DAN China CEO and Asianparent media chief is Tatler Asia Group’s new president for Southeast Asia.

Susana Tsui
Susana Tsui

Susana Tsui, who has held key media agency leadership positions in Asia, will be expanding her media repertoire in a new role, leading the Southeast Asia operations of Tatler Group Asia (recently rebranded from Edipresse) based in Singapore.

Confirming the role in an interview with Campaign Asia-Pacific, Tsui will provide regional guidance for the luxury lifestyle Tatler titles in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines, some of which are licensee or joint-venture relationships. 

With a new regional structure, the aim is to add streamlining and consistency to the titles as they transition from a society magazine towards a publication celebrating Asia’s most influential. This includes opening high society’s exclusive doors a little more to include self-made entrepreneurs, a move already evident in some of Tatler Group’s other subtitles like Gen.T.  Food and dining, interiors, art and design are all other areas the firm is focusing new products on and Tsui said part of her role will be to expand the different categories they want to be in.

"We were looking for a strong leader with a passion for entrepreneurship and business transformation, as well as the desire to make a positive impact in the region," Tatler Asia Group chairman and CEO Michel Lamunière told Campaign Asia-Pacific. "Susana ticks all the boxes." 

Digital transformation

As the former CEO of PHD APAC and Dentsu Aegis Network China, Tsui's aim will be building a much stronger digital presence than Tatler has had in the past. “Because of my background, I'm able to also focus building products that actually addresses the needs and desires of our audience,” she said. Some media publishers have a tendency to focus too much on their content products and not enough on the behaviours, desires and motivations of their audience who consume them, she added, noting: “My passion has always been about audience, consumer behavior, psychology. That's why I love advertising."

In expanding into new media, Tsui said she will be following up the multi-year effort already begun by Lamunière to digitally overhaul the business. Such work has inevitably involves some upheaval as jobs are shifted, staff are reskilled and some print skills are no longer needed.  But as many media companies have been hit hard by COVID-19’s economic impact, the impetus for change has quickly become more widely accepted and Tsui said that’s a good thing.

“It’s very encouraging because everything that I talk about now [is no longer] in a very traditional world where everyone would challenge me because they don't actually want to change. Now the change is upon them. It’s not about accepting it or not. It has already happened.”

From media agency to startup to publisher

Change is something Tsui knows a fair bit about. Her new role is her fourth in two years and follows a six-month stint as the CEO of media for family-based publisher and products company Asianparent. Tsui said she learned a lot during her six months at the company, which moved at startup speed but transformed so quickly that her role in heading up media veered quickly. Soon the company’s focus took shape in other areas of the business, with attention turning towards building new revenue streams alongside media.

“I think the whole Asianparent piece was a very good bridge or a stepping stone towards [this role] because I picked up a lot more skills and intimate knowledge on how we run media platforms,” Tsui said.

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