Both DDB and van Motman said the departure was a personal decision. Contacted by Campaign Asia-Pacific, van Motman said he does not have a new position lined up and is focusing on a taking a break before deciding on his next move.
"My background has always been being where I can to develop new opportunities, so my next career move would not be something obvious," he said.
John Zeigler, chairman and CEO of DDB Asia Pacific, told Campaign Asia-Pacific that the agency has no plans at present to fill the role. "We've been working on a plan for a couple of months, and we've got very good management in place in all of the offices," Zeigler said.
Last week DDB appointed AdFest president Jimmy Lam as vice chairman and chief creative officer for North China, following Michael Dee’s decision to leave the agency.
The three office leads will report directly to Zeigler, who referred to the change as an "elevation" in the importance of their roles, while adding that he will take a more active part in supporting the Greater China offices.
Zeigler said those moves, as well as the hiring of Lam, all play into DDB's strategy of making Shanghai its creative hub—a move that is paying off for both clients and DDB's own creative talents, he said.
"The hub in Shanghai is an approach that allows us to centralize creativity from Asia and plug it back into DDB worldwide," he said. "We're trying to provide a conduit for Asian creative work not only pan-Asia, but also in the worldwide DDB creative network."
"Jimmy will be a lot more involved in raising our China creative product, and working with Amir to make sure that conduit to the world is built," Zeigler said.
Asserting there is more talk in the industry about harnessing Asian creativity than there is real effort to harness it, Zeigler said that creative from Asia is already being funneled through the Shanghai hub into campaigns worldwide.
"This gives opportunities to our people, and it moves us into the Asian generation in a real sense, not just a passive sense," he said.