Staff Reporters
Mar 28, 2022

WFA names new APAC leader

Dole Sunshine’s Rupen Desai will serve as regional VP and chair of the Asia Advisory Board, replacing David Porter.

WFA names new APAC leader

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has named Rupen Desai, CMO at the Dole Sunshine Company, as regional vice president for APAC and chair of its Asia Advisory Board.

Desai replaces David Porter, who has retired from his role as Unilever's VP of global media. He held the WFA regional VP role since 2020 and will continue to support the WFA in an advisory capacity.

Desai’s role, according to the WFA, will be to identify the key issues being raised by WFA members and national associations across APAC and lead the drive for change both at a national level and when dealing with media owners that cover multiple markets, at a regional and global level.

He will work with the WFA team members and its Asia Advisory Board to push for changes that enable regional and global brands to deliver effective and efficient investments in marketing across the region, the organisation said.

Desai was named global CMO for Dole Sunshine in April 2019. He is also the co-founder at The Shed 28 (TS/28). He was one of seven regional and global marketers who were shortlisted for the WFA’s Global Marketer of the Year Award in 2021. Prior to Dole, he was Edelman’s executive vice-chairman across Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, which followed a tenure at MullenLowe. Like Porter, Desai is a member of Campaign Asia-Pacific's Power List of the region's 50 most influential marekters.

Desai is one of five regional WFA VPs worldwide.

“Our regional VPs are our eyes and ears on the ground and help us understand how geography impacts on the challenges facing marketing and advertising," said Stephan Loerke, WFA CEO. "Rupen will bring great insight about APAC’s unique media ecosystems as well as making a valuable contribution to our peer-to-peer best practice sessions, sharing ideas and approaches in critical areas such as purpose and sustainability. I would also like to pay tribute to David Porter, who has contributed so much to the WFA as both regional VP for APAC and also as APAC chair for WFA’s Media Forum.”

“David has built great momentum for the WFA and I hope to build on this further," Desai said.
"Marketers have a significant role to play as we grow and scale brands and businesses. This can’t come at the cost of our planet or build further inequalities in society or the world we live in. I look forward to working with all the partners at the WFA to help find systemic answers to some of marketing’s toughest challenges.”

“It is terrific news that Rupen is stepping into this role," Porter said. "He brings brand and agency experience as well as high energy and a peerless commitment to diversity and purpose. I know he will continue to drive positive change in the region and will continue to remind colleagues elsewhere that APAC is ‘most of world’, rather than ‘rest of world’. I wish Rupen and the WFA every success in the future."

The Asia Advisory Board, launched in 2020, determines the WFA's direction in the region, identifies key global issues that require regional application, and provides a platform for companies to share best practices. Members include:
  • Pratik Thakar, Asia chair, WFA CMO Forum, and head of global creative strategy and content at The Coca-Cola Company
  • Silas Lewis-Meilus, Asia chair, WFA Media Forum, and global head of media business units at GSK
  • Shyam Balasubramanian, head of brands at Castrol
  • Edward Bell, general manager of brand, insights and marketing communications at Cathay Pacific
  • Juliana Chu, vice president of digital and ecommerce for Asia Pacific at Shiseido
  • Juan Hoyos, global marketing, division general manager for brand and engagement at Nissan
  • Josephine Tan, global technology solution services director for digital/mobile at McDonald's
  • Amanda Woo, CEO of AirAsia SuperApp

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