Staff Reporters
Jan 26, 2024

UM names Ben Crawford as CEO for Greater China

Crawford moves from Singapore's regional chief client officer role to helm the newly created position out of Shanghai.

Ben Crawford, CEO, UM, Greater China
Ben Crawford, CEO, UM, Greater China

UM has appointed Ben Crawford, its chief client officer for APAC, as chief executive of Greater China, effective immediately. In the newly created role, Crawford will move from Singapore to Shanghai and have a dual reporting line to the regional president of UM APAC, Kasper Aakerlund, and the chief executive of IPG Mediabrands Greater China, Melinda Po.  

UM China has been without a named CEO since May 2023, after Lawrence Wan, the agency’s first China CEO, resigned from Mediabrands after two years into the role, citing personal reasons. Simultaneously, Jacky Tang, the former chief operating officer of Mediabrands China, also resigned from his position, citing similar reasons. The agency confirmed these departures to Campaign at the time, though details about their replacements remained unconfirmed until now. 

Crawford brings over 20 years of media and advertising experience to the role, having served as the regional chief client officer for UM over the last two years. He first joined IPG Mediabrands in March 2016 as a regional communications planning director. Prior to his roles at IPG, he was head of investments (Melbourne) for Starcom MediaVest Group and a senior media trader at Mediacom, respectively—with both positions based out of Australia.

Crawford’s remit includes leading the Greater China team to provide clients with “best-in-class integrated offerings across media, creative and consulting” and help them navigate the evolving media ecosystem across the local market. Crawford has played a key role in developing advertising solutions and service models for various prominent brands in major categories throughout his tenure with Mediabrands. He’s also forged successful partnerships with brands including American Express, Spotify, Dyson, Mattel, Johnson and Johnson, Shangri-La, and Netflix

Speaking of the appointment, Melinda Po remarked: “I am delighted to introduce Ben to UM Greater China and entrust him with the responsibility of managing this rapidly expanding market. We will make the most of his skills and vast experience in establishing fruitful collaborations with clients. Ben's dedication to enhancing business growth, profound understanding of the media landscape, and enthusiasm for driving digital transformation perfectly align with our objectives of fostering growth for our clients and achieving our own business aspirations in Greater China.”

Crawford said of his new role: “I am super excited to partner with Melinda, the Mediabrands leadership team and marketers across Greater China as I bring my passion for business growth, customised marketing solutions, and digital innovation to the role."

"Having worked across Asia for some time, I have a strong affinity for the region and look forward to diving deep into local culture while leading and supporting our teams in navigating one of the most agile advertising environments.”


Campaign Asia

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