Robert Sawatzky
Dec 11, 2018

The Asia-Pacific Power List: The region's most influential brand marketers

Presenting the complete first list of Asia-Pacific’s 50 most influential brand marketers, as chosen by the editorial team at Campaign Asia-Pacific.

Sam Ahmed | Global head of digital and retail marketing and insights | Standard Chartered: A List, 40 Under 40, Global Most Influential Marketer; a reflection of his powerful reputation in the industry, Sam Ahmed has barely been off one “best marketer” list or another for the last five years. During that time he’s stepped up from SVP head of marketing for Asia-Pacific at Mastercard to a global role at Standard Chartered, based in Singapore, in March 2017. A Harvard Business School graduate with a penchant for a smart pocket handkerchief, Ahmed also chairs the WFA’s Asia-Pacific CMO forum. His remit to drive revenue through digital growth at Standard Chartered has already seen him forge an interesting partnership with TBWA’s Flare Studio crowdsourcing platform this year, a bid to start working with agencies in a different way. In January 2019 Ahmed joined Facebook to become APAC director of payments and financial services partnerships.

Sam Ahmed | Global head of digital and retail marketing and insights | Standard Chartered: A List, 40 Under 40, Global Most Influential Marketer; a reflection of his powerful reputation in the industry, Sam Ahmed has barely been off one “best marketer” list or another for the last five years. During that time he’s stepped up from SVP head of marketing for Asia-Pacific at Mastercard to a global role at Standard Chartered, based in Singapore, in March 2017. A Harvard Business School graduate with a penchant for a smart pocket handkerchief, Ahmed also chairs the WFA’s Asia-Pacific CMO forum. His remit to drive revenue through digital growth at Standard Chartered has already seen him forge an interesting partnership with TBWA’s Flare Studio crowdsourcing platform this year, a bid to start working with agencies in a different way. In January 2019 Ahmed joined Facebook to become APAC director of payments and financial services partnerships.

Juliana Chu | Digital and analytics director, APAC | Kimberly-Clark: Juliana Chu is in her fifth role at Kimberley-Clark in just eight years, having risen up the ranks from strategy manager for the North Asia region to her current position overseeing the American personal care MNC’s digital approach in the whole region from her base in Singapore. Her insights on data analytics, programmatic and multi-channel strategies in the FMCG sphere make Chu both a widely sought-after speaker at industry events from All That Matters to FutureTech Singapore, and a judge at awards shows such as Tangrams. A marketer with several other professional lives before her current one, Chu was originally an accountant at Deloitte and then worked in management consultancy for A.T. Kearney before she moved into the brand world.

Juliana Chu | Digital and analytics director, APAC | Kimberly-Clark: Juliana Chu is in her fifth role at Kimberley-Clark in just eight years, having risen up the ranks from strategy manager for the North Asia region to her current position overseeing the American personal care MNC’s digital approach in the whole region from her base in Singapore. Her insights on data analytics, programmatic and multi-channel strategies in the FMCG sphere make Chu both a widely sought-after speaker at industry events from All That Matters to FutureTech Singapore, and a judge at awards shows such as Tangrams. A marketer with several other professional lives before her current one, Chu was originally an accountant at Deloitte and then worked in management consultancy for A.T. Kearney before she moved into the brand world.

Frederique Covington Corbett | SVP marketing APAC | Visa: Frederique Covington Corbett is one of the most recognisable and accomplished marketers in the region, with experience across all facets of the industry. A self-professed believer in the power of ideas that transform, she started her career as a planner with Y&R, DMB&B and Ogilvy in the US before moving to Asia in 2007 to join the Bates 141 network. After ascending to managing partner, Covington Corbett made a jump to the client side with Microsoft, where she eventually became APAC CMO. From 2014 through 2016 she rounded out her experience with a stint on the media-owner side, as international marketing director for Twitter across Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Russia. At Visa, Covington Corbett is leading the transition from credit-card company to payment-technology company, with initiatives such as a 'cardless' Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Frederique Covington Corbett | SVP marketing APAC | Visa: Frederique Covington Corbett is one of the most recognisable and accomplished marketers in the region, with experience across all facets of the industry. A self-professed believer in the power of ideas that transform, she started her career as a planner with Y&R, DMB&B and Ogilvy in the US before moving to Asia in 2007 to join the Bates 141 network. After ascending to managing partner, Covington Corbett made a jump to the client side with Microsoft, where she eventually became APAC CMO. From 2014 through 2016 she rounded out her experience with a stint on the media-owner side, as international marketing director for Twitter across Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Russia. At Visa, Covington Corbett is leading the transition from credit-card company to payment-technology company, with initiatives such as a 'cardless' Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Ravi Desai | Director, mass and brand marketing | Amazon India: When you’re the top e-commerce platform in a consumer market as large as India, being the director of mass and brand marketing is a big responsibility. Last year, CMO.com wrote that Ravi Desai was “transforming the way India buys and sells.” While India can be a graveyard market for foreign brands that fail to do their homework before launch, Desai has ensured that Indian cultural values and practices are incorporated into Amazon’s campaigns. Not only has Desai successfully worked to ensure consumers have the same trust in ordering goods online as they do in shopping at local neighbourhood vendors, but he’s been an advocate for including and offering more local brand products.  This is likely rooted in his long prior career at ITC Foods heading up marketing for their confectionary division where he launched their Bingo line of snacks.

Ravi Desai | Director, mass and brand marketing | Amazon India: When you’re the top e-commerce platform in a consumer market as large as India, being the director of mass and brand marketing is a big responsibility. Last year, CMO.com wrote that Ravi Desai was “transforming the way India buys and sells.” While India can be a graveyard market for foreign brands that fail to do their homework before launch, Desai has ensured that Indian cultural values and practices are incorporated into Amazon’s campaigns. Not only has Desai successfully worked to ensure consumers have the same trust in ordering goods online as they do in shopping at local neighbourhood vendors, but he’s been an advocate for including and offering more local brand products. This is likely rooted in his long prior career at ITC Foods heading up marketing for their confectionary division where he launched their Bingo line of snacks.

Sonali Dhawan | CMO and fabric business unit head | P&G India: A veteran of Proctor and Gamble for over 20 years in multiple roles, Sonali Dhawan has become an embedded presence across the Indian, Asean and Australian regions. A defiant force for women in the Asian marketing community, Dhawan makes sure their voices are heard and is both regular speaker at TED talks and a continued high-ranking presence on India’s Impact 50 list. One of her most notable advocations of recent years has been a push to create tailored music videos for P&G’s Philippines campaigns rather than traditional TVCs, an example being this year’s “I Wash It That Way” (a parody of that Backstreet Boys song) for P&G Safeguard. A catchy, silly video that demonstrated keen local market awareness, including its use of a pun-tastic #HANGINfection hashtag. Rather than sitting on well-earned laurels, Dhawan inspires future generations while striving to innovate.

Sonali Dhawan | CMO and fabric business unit head | P&G India: A veteran of Proctor and Gamble for over 20 years in multiple roles, Sonali Dhawan has become an embedded presence across the Indian, Asean and Australian regions. A defiant force for women in the Asian marketing community, Dhawan makes sure their voices are heard and is both regular speaker at TED talks and a continued high-ranking presence on India’s Impact 50 list. One of her most notable advocations of recent years has been a push to create tailored music videos for P&G’s Philippines campaigns rather than traditional TVCs, an example being this year’s “I Wash It That Way” (a parody of that Backstreet Boys song) for P&G Safeguard. A catchy, silly video that demonstrated keen local market awareness, including its use of a pun-tastic #HANGINfection hashtag. Rather than sitting on well-earned laurels, Dhawan inspires future generations while striving to innovate.

Adam Diamond | Director, Asia Pacific integrated marketing and brand strategy | Starbucks Asia Pacific: A Starbucks employee since 1994, Adam Diamond is well steeped in the coffee giant's overriding emphasis on customer experience. He has been involved with marketing in APAC since 2013 and arrived in his current role nine months ago. He played a critical role in the company's 40th anniversary rebranding across Asia Pacific, the launch of the first Starbucks Rewards programme in China and the marketing campaign for the Teavana launch across all of Asia Pacific. The latter initiative drove double-digit growth in the category for the company—no mean feat in a region that is arguably more picky about its tea than its coffee. China is central to the brand's future, and there the company has made an impact with the opulent and experience-rich Reserve Roastery it built in Shanghai. Diamond also stresses the importance of extending the company's focus on in-store experience to creating meaningful interactions with the brand in the digital realm.

Adam Diamond | Director, Asia Pacific integrated marketing and brand strategy | Starbucks Asia Pacific: A Starbucks employee since 1994, Adam Diamond is well steeped in the coffee giant's overriding emphasis on customer experience. He has been involved with marketing in APAC since 2013 and arrived in his current role nine months ago. He played a critical role in the company's 40th anniversary rebranding across Asia Pacific, the launch of the first Starbucks Rewards programme in China and the marketing campaign for the Teavana launch across all of Asia Pacific. The latter initiative drove double-digit growth in the category for the company—no mean feat in a region that is arguably more picky about its tea than its coffee. China is central to the brand's future, and there the company has made an impact with the opulent and experience-rich Reserve Roastery it built in Shanghai. Diamond also stresses the importance of extending the company's focus on in-store experience to creating meaningful interactions with the brand in the digital realm.

Peggy Fang Roe | Chief sales and marketing officer, APAC | Marriott International: As Marriott International spent this year navigating winds of rapidly shifting fortune, the brand’s chief sales and marketing officer for Asia-Pacific has stood resolutely at her post. 2018 began with Peggy Fang Roe at the vanguard of an impressive new joint venture between Marriott and Alibaba. Within days, her brand was facing a very public trial. Having listed Taiwan as a country on its booking site, Marriott became the target of China’s escalating policing of brands operating in its territory and had its website blocked. Fang Roe has delicately guided Marriott through this politically sensitive issue and talk around the brand has shifted to Marriott’s deft integration of loyalty schemes across its acquisitions of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. Marriott is now facing a customer data breach with huge potential to damage consumer trust: but if any CMO can weather this storm, it’s likely Peggy Fang Roe.

Peggy Fang Roe | Chief sales and marketing officer, APAC | Marriott International: As Marriott International spent this year navigating winds of rapidly shifting fortune, the brand’s chief sales and marketing officer for Asia-Pacific has stood resolutely at her post. 2018 began with Peggy Fang Roe at the vanguard of an impressive new joint venture between Marriott and Alibaba. Within days, her brand was facing a very public trial. Having listed Taiwan as a country on its booking site, Marriott became the target of China’s escalating policing of brands operating in its territory and had its website blocked. Fang Roe has delicately guided Marriott through this politically sensitive issue and talk around the brand has shifted to Marriott’s deft integration of loyalty schemes across its acquisitions of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. Marriott is now facing a customer data breach with huge potential to damage consumer trust: but if any CMO can weather this storm, it’s likely Peggy Fang Roe.

Francis Flores | Global brand CMO | Jollibee: This was a great year for Jollibee, as the Filipino chain continues to evolve into a truly global brand. Opening its first European venues in Italy and the UK and sweeping up awards at events such as the APAC Effies were just a few noteworthy touchstones. Jollibee’s success is no sudden lightning bolt, however, but the culmination of more than a decade of work by its CMO, Francis Flores. For many Filipinos, Jollibee isn’t just a fast food chain. Controlling over half the market, it is intrinsically part of the community, and Flores has doubled down on this identity, championing campaigns that put a focus on warm hearts rather than hungry bellies. Events under Flores’ stewardship, such as the Jollibee Family Values Awards (now in its eighth year) have helped humanise the chain but it is the social media-dominating “Kwentong Jollibee” online video series of 2017-2018 that has been Flores’ absolute triumph. Garnering more than 100 million views over the last two years, this annual Valentines Day release of adverts has targeted core Filipino values with a keen understanding of digital platform use.

Francis Flores | Global brand CMO | Jollibee: This was a great year for Jollibee, as the Filipino chain continues to evolve into a truly global brand. Opening its first European venues in Italy and the UK and sweeping up awards at events such as the APAC Effies were just a few noteworthy touchstones. Jollibee’s success is no sudden lightning bolt, however, but the culmination of more than a decade of work by its CMO, Francis Flores. For many Filipinos, Jollibee isn’t just a fast food chain. Controlling over half the market, it is intrinsically part of the community, and Flores has doubled down on this identity, championing campaigns that put a focus on warm hearts rather than hungry bellies. Events under Flores’ stewardship, such as the Jollibee Family Values Awards (now in its eighth year) have helped humanise the chain but it is the social media-dominating “Kwentong Jollibee” online video series of 2017-2018 that has been Flores’ absolute triumph. Garnering more than 100 million views over the last two years, this annual Valentines Day release of adverts has targeted core Filipino values with a keen understanding of digital platform use.

Cheryl Goh | Group VP marketing | Grab: Joining Grab from an automobile MNC to bring her business development skills to what was then a small, storeroom operated startup, Goh has shown an unsurpassed flair for effective marketing. Her team of 300 has so successfully optimised marketing efficiency involved in growing Grab’s diverse business segments—customers, agents, drivers, merchants—that Grab recorded its billionth ride in October 2017 and its second billionth just nine months later. The company is now one of the best-known in Southeast Asia. Goh has also overseen the development of products like the GrabFamily transport service and the loyalty programme GrabRewards. She is known seen as a spokesperson for the Southeast Asia tech-startup scene has spoken at conferences around the world.

Cheryl Goh | Group VP marketing | Grab: Joining Grab from an automobile MNC to bring her business development skills to what was then a small, storeroom operated startup, Goh has shown an unsurpassed flair for effective marketing. Her team of 300 has so successfully optimised marketing efficiency involved in growing Grab’s diverse business segments—customers, agents, drivers, merchants—that Grab recorded its billionth ride in October 2017 and its second billionth just nine months later. The company is now one of the best-known in Southeast Asia. Goh has also overseen the development of products like the GrabFamily transport service and the loyalty programme GrabRewards. She is known seen as a spokesperson for the Southeast Asia tech-startup scene has spoken at conferences around the world.

Richa Goswami | Total brand experience officer | Johnson & Johnson: An active and outspoken member of Singapore’s marketing community, Richa Goswami is a TEDx speaker and has served on the jury at key industry events like the Tangrams effectiveness awards and the Mobile Marketing Awards. With a reputation as a digital innovator, disrupter and fintech pioneer, Goswami held senior roles at HSBC and Standard Chartered before moving into the health and wellness space five years ago. Now, Goswami heads up J&J’s digital marketing initiatives for its consumer healthcare business and is involved in using new forms of content to help turn the corporate giant more consumer-centric. A strong brand culture and workplace advocate, Goswami is helping J&J disrupt traditional team structures and to empower eager young employees.

Richa Goswami | Total brand experience officer | Johnson & Johnson: An active and outspoken member of Singapore’s marketing community, Richa Goswami is a TEDx speaker and has served on the jury at key industry events like the Tangrams effectiveness awards and the Mobile Marketing Awards. With a reputation as a digital innovator, disrupter and fintech pioneer, Goswami held senior roles at HSBC and Standard Chartered before moving into the health and wellness space five years ago. Now, Goswami heads up J&J’s digital marketing initiatives for its consumer healthcare business and is involved in using new forms of content to help turn the corporate giant more consumer-centric. A strong brand culture and workplace advocate, Goswami is helping J&J disrupt traditional team structures and to empower eager young employees.

Yoshiko Iwamoto | Head of online marketing strategy | SoftBank: Softbank is one of Japan’s most distinctive brands, and many people have had a hand in shaping its character over the years. Yoshiko Iwamoto is likely to play an important role in its future, however. A high profile representative of SoftBank’s marketing efforts in Japan, Iwamoto is also a respected lecturer on big data analysis. She was initially in charge of insight for Vodafone (SoftBank acquired the company’s Japan business in 2006). In that role, she led strategy, research, products and advertising. She went on to lead product development for SoftBank, with a direct reporting line to the president. She now directs SoftBank’s online marketing strategy, a data-driven role that is set to play a bigger part in the brand’s fortunes as digital accounts for a larger portion of its marketing spend.

Yoshiko Iwamoto | Head of online marketing strategy | SoftBank: Softbank is one of Japan’s most distinctive brands, and many people have had a hand in shaping its character over the years. Yoshiko Iwamoto is likely to play an important role in its future, however. A high profile representative of SoftBank’s marketing efforts in Japan, Iwamoto is also a respected lecturer on big data analysis. She was initially in charge of insight for Vodafone (SoftBank acquired the company’s Japan business in 2006). In that role, she led strategy, research, products and advertising. She went on to lead product development for SoftBank, with a direct reporting line to the president. She now directs SoftBank’s online marketing strategy, a data-driven role that is set to play a bigger part in the brand’s fortunes as digital accounts for a larger portion of its marketing spend.

John C Jay | President of global creative | Fast Retailing/Uniqlo: While John C Jay's on-paper pedigree is a creative one —including a long tenure at Wieden+Kennedy — in reality he functions as the top marketer for Fast Retailing and has been a key player in projecting its Uniqlo brand into the global psyche. The brand was one of the first Jay worked on when he joined W+K in 1998, and when he moved to Fast Retailing in 2014, the company gave him control over

John C Jay | President of global creative | Fast Retailing/Uniqlo: While John C Jay's on-paper pedigree is a creative one —including a long tenure at Wieden+Kennedy — in reality he functions as the top marketer for Fast Retailing and has been a key player in projecting its Uniqlo brand into the global psyche. The brand was one of the first Jay worked on when he joined W+K in 1998, and when he moved to Fast Retailing in 2014, the company gave him control over "overall creative aspects" including product design, store design, marketing, media and branding strategies. He made it his business to grasp everything from the intricacies of fabric technology to logistics, and took a close interest in establishing creative R&D centres. He is also responsible for Fast Retailing's other brands, including Helmut Lang, Theory and Comptoir des Cotonniers. While based in Portland, Oregon, he travels to Tokyo frequently.

Simon Kahn | Chief marketing officer, Asia Pacific | Google: Simon Kahn has overseen marketing and advertising for Google in 16 APAC countries for over seven years now; he joined from American Express, where his last role was country manager for Singapore, in 2011. His broad remit extends to managing both B2B programmes such as ‘Grow With Google’, which offers free digital skills training for students, teachers and small businesses, and all B2C work including Google Play and YouTube. Kahn is also in charge of APAC marketing for Google’s Next Billion Users initiatives, such as wifi project Google Station, which has already brought high-speed wifi to over 400 train stations in India. Among a multitude of other successful marketing projects, from Google Developer Days in China to a Google Maps ‘two-wheeler mode’ campaign in Indonesia, Kahn has also launched Womenwill and Innovation Japan, two socially-minded programmes in the region that help people use the web to advance their economic opportunities.

Simon Kahn | Chief marketing officer, Asia Pacific | Google: Simon Kahn has overseen marketing and advertising for Google in 16 APAC countries for over seven years now; he joined from American Express, where his last role was country manager for Singapore, in 2011. His broad remit extends to managing both B2B programmes such as ‘Grow With Google’, which offers free digital skills training for students, teachers and small businesses, and all B2C work including Google Play and YouTube. Kahn is also in charge of APAC marketing for Google’s Next Billion Users initiatives, such as wifi project Google Station, which has already brought high-speed wifi to over 400 train stations in India. Among a multitude of other successful marketing projects, from Google Developer Days in China to a Google Maps ‘two-wheeler mode’ campaign in Indonesia, Kahn has also launched Womenwill and Innovation Japan, two socially-minded programmes in the region that help people use the web to advance their economic opportunities.

Sanjeev Kapur | CMO (APAC including Japan) | MetLife: With long experience at Unilever and Citibank, Sanjeev Kapur became regional CMO at MetLife in June 2018. His remit: to accelerate a brand transformation, underway since the company rebranded in October 2016, across the company's 10 Asia markets (Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, South Korea and Vietnam). A believer in customer-centricity, Kapur aims to make sure MetLife isn't among the many companies that are “data rich, but insight poor”. The company's data can yield insights, which in turn can lead to ways for the brand to differentiate in competitive markets. For example, under Kapur's watch, the company has begun launching 360 Health, a regional sub-brand for its insurance services to help customers better understand how to prevent and manage serious illness. Kapur started out as an area sales manager at Hindustan Unilever in 1999, but within four years was Regional Innovation Manager for Lux. He then moved to Citi, where he spent over 12 years, rising to regional head of marketing.

Sanjeev Kapur | CMO (APAC including Japan) | MetLife: With long experience at Unilever and Citibank, Sanjeev Kapur became regional CMO at MetLife in June 2018. His remit: to accelerate a brand transformation, underway since the company rebranded in October 2016, across the company's 10 Asia markets (Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, South Korea and Vietnam). A believer in customer-centricity, Kapur aims to make sure MetLife isn't among the many companies that are “data rich, but insight poor”. The company's data can yield insights, which in turn can lead to ways for the brand to differentiate in competitive markets. For example, under Kapur's watch, the company has begun launching 360 Health, a regional sub-brand for its insurance services to help customers better understand how to prevent and manage serious illness. Kapur started out as an area sales manager at Hindustan Unilever in 1999, but within four years was Regional Innovation Manager for Lux. He then moved to Citi, where he spent over 12 years, rising to regional head of marketing.

Rudy Khaw | Group head of branding | Air Asia: Air Asia widely enjoys its status as a maverick brand in this region with innovative, cheeky and irreverent campaigns that buck the conservative mainstream and at times anger the establishment. But Air Asia’s reputation as a brand beholden only to consumers has made it a much-beloved and mobile-friendly airline, far more so than rival Malaysian Airlines in its home market, as evidenced by its top-five ranking overall in Malaysia’s Top 100 brands. As Air Asia’s brand chief, musician/marketer Rudy Khaw embodies the airline’s reputation and image after spending the past eleven-and-a-half years working his way up from brand executive. And there are no signs yet that success is making him soft. In the past year he’s helped Air Asia solidify partnerships with similarly edgy names like Vice Media and UFC.

Rudy Khaw | Group head of branding | Air Asia: Air Asia widely enjoys its status as a maverick brand in this region with innovative, cheeky and irreverent campaigns that buck the conservative mainstream and at times anger the establishment. But Air Asia’s reputation as a brand beholden only to consumers has made it a much-beloved and mobile-friendly airline, far more so than rival Malaysian Airlines in its home market, as evidenced by its top-five ranking overall in Malaysia’s Top 100 brands. As Air Asia’s brand chief, musician/marketer Rudy Khaw embodies the airline’s reputation and image after spending the past eleven-and-a-half years working his way up from brand executive. And there are no signs yet that success is making him soft. In the past year he’s helped Air Asia solidify partnerships with similarly edgy names like Vice Media and UFC.

SY Lau | Senior executive vice president and chairman of group marketing and global branding | Tencent: SY (short for Seng Yee) Lau has been with Tencent since 2006 as the de facto spokesperson for the internet company on behalf of its elusive, quiet co-founder and chairman, Pony Ma. For more than a decade prior to a recent restructure, Lau held the position of president of the Online Media Group, whose holdings include Tencent News, Tencent Video, Tencent Sports and Penguin Pictures. Styled as a ‘digital evangelist’, he is often called upon to share his insights on the value of innovation to the Chinese people's livelihoods. He speaks frequently at major events, including IMF Forums, Boao Asia, Viva Technology, G20, Cannes Lions; and on executive programs of academic institutions such as Harvard, Stanford and Oxford.

SY Lau | Senior executive vice president and chairman of group marketing and global branding | Tencent: SY (short for Seng Yee) Lau has been with Tencent since 2006 as the de facto spokesperson for the internet company on behalf of its elusive, quiet co-founder and chairman, Pony Ma. For more than a decade prior to a recent restructure, Lau held the position of president of the Online Media Group, whose holdings include Tencent News, Tencent Video, Tencent Sports and Penguin Pictures. Styled as a ‘digital evangelist’, he is often called upon to share his insights on the value of innovation to the Chinese people's livelihoods. He speaks frequently at major events, including IMF Forums, Boao Asia, Viva Technology, G20, Cannes Lions; and on executive programs of academic institutions such as Harvard, Stanford and Oxford.

Rex Lee | Regional director, Southeast Asia | Asus: If 2018 proved one thing for mass media consumption, it’s that gaming is indisputably king. And while other brands have scrambled in the wake of events like the e-sports explosion, Asus has been quietly readying themselves for this for years, building a heavily individualised consumer experience. At the world’s ground zero for this cultural phenomenon, Rex Lee, Asus’ regional director for South East Asia has been integral to this shift. For close to 10 years, Lee has helped Asus build up its Republic of Gamers brand and transform Asus from an office utility resource into a recognisable part of Asia’s dedicated PC consumer scene. Now, as smartphones become gaming’s dominant platform, the successful launch of the ROG Phone under the brand has shown that time investment has paid off. A multi-award winning presence in the region, it’s likely that Lee will continue to help Asus stay flexible and adjust to this ever-evolving market.

Rex Lee | Regional director, Southeast Asia | Asus: If 2018 proved one thing for mass media consumption, it’s that gaming is indisputably king. And while other brands have scrambled in the wake of events like the e-sports explosion, Asus has been quietly readying themselves for this for years, building a heavily individualised consumer experience. At the world’s ground zero for this cultural phenomenon, Rex Lee, Asus’ regional director for South East Asia has been integral to this shift. For close to 10 years, Lee has helped Asus build up its Republic of Gamers brand and transform Asus from an office utility resource into a recognisable part of Asia’s dedicated PC consumer scene. Now, as smartphones become gaming’s dominant platform, the successful launch of the ROG Phone under the brand has shown that time investment has paid off. A multi-award winning presence in the region, it’s likely that Lee will continue to help Asus stay flexible and adjust to this ever-evolving market.

Younghee Lee | CMO | Samsung: Samsung’s CMO has been on a mission to shatter Apple’s self-entitled role as the singular cool creative leader among tech giants. A few years into her role it would be hard to argue that Younghee Lee hasn’t succeeded, a fitting result for a brand that has pushed the mantra “Do What You Can’t”, a message that the technology Samsung packs can break any and all barriers. The work has been stunning, and goes beyond the awards-bait pieces that snagged bronze and silver lions at Cannes this year. Campaigns produced by Leo Burnett such as ‘Ostrich’ and ‘Human Nature’ show a marked change from the colder tech aesthetic commonly associated with Samsung. Lee’s conducting of a more human and relatable melody across product releases is easily apparent. Put simply, two years ago, a Samsung phone was associated with exploding batteries. Now its a symbol of good taste. The brand has Lee to thank, in large part, for that.

Younghee Lee | CMO | Samsung: Samsung’s CMO has been on a mission to shatter Apple’s self-entitled role as the singular cool creative leader among tech giants. A few years into her role it would be hard to argue that Younghee Lee hasn’t succeeded, a fitting result for a brand that has pushed the mantra “Do What You Can’t”, a message that the technology Samsung packs can break any and all barriers. The work has been stunning, and goes beyond the awards-bait pieces that snagged bronze and silver lions at Cannes this year. Campaigns produced by Leo Burnett such as ‘Ostrich’ and ‘Human Nature’ show a marked change from the colder tech aesthetic commonly associated with Samsung. Lee’s conducting of a more human and relatable melody across product releases is easily apparent. Put simply, two years ago, a Samsung phone was associated with exploding batteries. Now its a symbol of good taste. The brand has Lee to thank, in large part, for that.

Joanna Lu | VP of marketing, Greater China and Korea | The Coca-Cola Company: A 13-year Coca-Cola veteran, Joanna Lu is widely credited with helping push Minute Maid Pulpy to billion-dollar status when she was marketing director for still beverages in China. The brand achieved that mark in early 2011, by which time Lu had moved to a position in Korea, where she led the market to double-digit growth. Returning to China and taking charge of sparkling beverages, Lu presided over the launch of Schweppes +C and led the business to an all-time high in market share. She later did a stint as 'global tea director' in Atlanta, before returning to China and being named to her current role in 2017. Lu holds a biophysics degree, and has asserted that her science background has given her a strong tendency toward the 'test and learn' process that is so often talked about but less often practiced in the industry. That approach promises to continue serving her well, as her current focus is further boosting Coca-Cola's digital-marketing capabilities in one of the world's most innovative markets.

Joanna Lu | VP of marketing, Greater China and Korea | The Coca-Cola Company: A 13-year Coca-Cola veteran, Joanna Lu is widely credited with helping push Minute Maid Pulpy to billion-dollar status when she was marketing director for still beverages in China. The brand achieved that mark in early 2011, by which time Lu had moved to a position in Korea, where she led the market to double-digit growth. Returning to China and taking charge of sparkling beverages, Lu presided over the launch of Schweppes +C and led the business to an all-time high in market share. She later did a stint as 'global tea director' in Atlanta, before returning to China and being named to her current role in 2017. Lu holds a biophysics degree, and has asserted that her science background has given her a strong tendency toward the 'test and learn' process that is so often talked about but less often practiced in the industry. That approach promises to continue serving her well, as her current focus is further boosting Coca-Cola's digital-marketing capabilities in one of the world's most innovative markets.

Mathew Morgan | Marketing director | Vans APAC: A long-term China resident, Morgan was Vans’ first Asia-Pacific employee and his efforts to promote skate culture in the region have led to a decade of double-digit growth and success for the brand. Among the most recent evidence of this are the millions of dollars Vans notched up in Tmall sales during Single’s Day 2018, and the 6.5 million webcast viewers who tuned in to October’s Vans Park Series finale in China. To head marketing at Vans is to find endless new ways to creatively engage with consumers, including running shoe-designing competitions through Vans Asia Custom Culture project and supporting local skaters; Morgan’s influence has also seen him interviewed by international media as skateboarding prepares to make its debut as an Olympic sport at Tokyo 2020.

Mathew Morgan | Marketing director | Vans APAC: A long-term China resident, Morgan was Vans’ first Asia-Pacific employee and his efforts to promote skate culture in the region have led to a decade of double-digit growth and success for the brand. Among the most recent evidence of this are the millions of dollars Vans notched up in Tmall sales during Single’s Day 2018, and the 6.5 million webcast viewers who tuned in to October’s Vans Park Series finale in China. To head marketing at Vans is to find endless new ways to creatively engage with consumers, including running shoe-designing competitions through Vans Asia Custom Culture project and supporting local skaters; Morgan’s influence has also seen him interviewed by international media as skateboarding prepares to make its debut as an Olympic sport at Tokyo 2020.

Shinichi Nakamura | GM of Japan consumer marketing | Panasonic: Panasonic has been a consistent presence atop Campaign’s Asia’s Top 1000 Brands ranking for Japan since 2015, which in addition to the company’s legacy is testament to the efforts of its consumer-facing marketing division to keep the brand fresh in people’s minds. Having been at Panasonic since 1985, Shinichi Nakamura was a pioneer of content marketing for the company’s Hi-Ho internet service in the early 2000s. He later became a founding member of Club Panasonic, a membership site that has attracted more than 8 million members. The service continues to grow under Nakamura’s supervision. While Panasonic has traditionally been a top-down company, market forces are spurring change, and it has indicated that direct interaction with consumers is likely to play an important role in its future, especially in terms of product development. In that context, the value of people with CRM expertise like Nakamura’s should not be underestimated.

Shinichi Nakamura | GM of Japan consumer marketing | Panasonic: Panasonic has been a consistent presence atop Campaign’s Asia’s Top 1000 Brands ranking for Japan since 2015, which in addition to the company’s legacy is testament to the efforts of its consumer-facing marketing division to keep the brand fresh in people’s minds. Having been at Panasonic since 1985, Shinichi Nakamura was a pioneer of content marketing for the company’s Hi-Ho internet service in the early 2000s. He later became a founding member of Club Panasonic, a membership site that has attracted more than 8 million members. The service continues to grow under Nakamura’s supervision. While Panasonic has traditionally been a top-down company, market forces are spurring change, and it has indicated that direct interaction with consumers is likely to play an important role in its future, especially in terms of product development. In that context, the value of people with CRM expertise like Nakamura’s should not be underestimated.

Shankar Nath | CMO and SVP | Paytm: India’s demonetisation crisis of late 2016 catapulted Paytm ahead of many longstanding financial brands on the subcontinent, doubling its user base in a year. But the online payment service hasn’t sat back. It has made the most of its opportunity, forming new co-branding alliances with major FMCG firms like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Nestlé and ITC Foods. As Paytm’s CMO, Shankar Nath has continued to play brand offense, leading Paytm’s title sponsorship for BCCI Indian cricket, while investing in new award-winning creative at Adfest, Effies and Cannes Lions with its agency McCann. Nath’s previous experience as the head of marketing at ICICI may have honed his skills, but it’s his entrepreneurial bent as the founder of insurance portal PolicyTiger.com that keeps him driving forward.

Shankar Nath | CMO and SVP | Paytm: India’s demonetisation crisis of late 2016 catapulted Paytm ahead of many longstanding financial brands on the subcontinent, doubling its user base in a year. But the online payment service hasn’t sat back. It has made the most of its opportunity, forming new co-branding alliances with major FMCG firms like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Nestlé and ITC Foods. As Paytm’s CMO, Shankar Nath has continued to play brand offense, leading Paytm’s title sponsorship for BCCI Indian cricket, while investing in new award-winning creative at Adfest, Effies and Cannes Lions with its agency McCann. Nath’s previous experience as the head of marketing at ICICI may have honed his skills, but it’s his entrepreneurial bent as the founder of insurance portal PolicyTiger.com that keeps him driving forward.

Lynette Pang | Assistant chief executive officer (marketing) | Singapore Tourism Board: It’s Lynette Pang’s job to build Singapore’s destination brand globally and what a year 2018 has been for the city-state. Visitor arrivals and tourism receipts are enjoying successive record-breaking years and the runaway success of Hollywood hit Crazy Rich Asians (supported by the STB) has put Singapore on the world stage as a destination city, perhaps unlike any other time in its history. Pang’s early marketing career began at Saatchi & Saatchi, then under the leadership of David Droga, before successive roles at Warner Brothers, Yahoo and Singapore Repertory Theatre. Over the past 15 years Pang has worked her way up to lead Singapore Tourism Board’s global marketing efforts with its formidable budget and 21 offices worldwide. Committed to improving the industry, the STB launched its marketing innovation programme (MIP) to provide matching dollars for campaigns that push creative boundaries.

Lynette Pang | Assistant chief executive officer (marketing) | Singapore Tourism Board: It’s Lynette Pang’s job to build Singapore’s destination brand globally and what a year 2018 has been for the city-state. Visitor arrivals and tourism receipts are enjoying successive record-breaking years and the runaway success of Hollywood hit Crazy Rich Asians (supported by the STB) has put Singapore on the world stage as a destination city, perhaps unlike any other time in its history. Pang’s early marketing career began at Saatchi & Saatchi, then under the leadership of David Droga, before successive roles at Warner Brothers, Yahoo and Singapore Repertory Theatre. Over the past 15 years Pang has worked her way up to lead Singapore Tourism Board’s global marketing efforts with its formidable budget and 21 offices worldwide. Committed to improving the industry, the STB launched its marketing innovation programme (MIP) to provide matching dollars for campaigns that push creative boundaries.

David Porter | Vice president global media - Asia, Africa, Middle East, Turkey and Russia | Unilever: Covering a vast territory for one of the world's biggest consumer-products companies, David Porter is not only an executive who wields enormous influence over agencies and media owners, but also a powerful voice for issues of importance to the industry, such as media transparency, ad fraud and user privacy. Porter spent 25 years in media agencies in the UK before coming to Asia in 2004 and then six years with GroupM/Mindshare prior to joining Unilever in 2010, where his responsibility has steadily grown. He also serves as the APAC chair of the WFA (World Federation of Advertisers) Media Forum and is on the board of the Mobile Marketing Association. In one key initiative in APAC, Porter former a partnership with WPP to have its agencies work with startups in the CPG company's Foundry programme in Singapore.

David Porter | Vice president global media - Asia, Africa, Middle East, Turkey and Russia | Unilever: Covering a vast territory for one of the world's biggest consumer-products companies, David Porter is not only an executive who wields enormous influence over agencies and media owners, but also a powerful voice for issues of importance to the industry, such as media transparency, ad fraud and user privacy. Porter spent 25 years in media agencies in the UK before coming to Asia in 2004 and then six years with GroupM/Mindshare prior to joining Unilever in 2010, where his responsibility has steadily grown. He also serves as the APAC chair of the WFA (World Federation of Advertisers) Media Forum and is on the board of the Mobile Marketing Association. In one key initiative in APAC, Porter former a partnership with WPP to have its agencies work with startups in the CPG company's Foundry programme in Singapore.

Stuart A Spencer | Group CMO | AIA Group: Stuart Spencer holds overall marketing responsibility for one of the region's largest insurers, including group marketing initiatives, customer propositions and the AIA Vitality offering. The latter, a key part of the company's positioning, creates ongoing engagement among customers by rewarding them for healthy life choices—with incentives ranging from discounts on meals and health-club memberships to premium reductions. While Spencer didn't start Vitality, he is responsible for keeping it ahead of competitor efforts to imitate it, and he argues that it is making a measurable impact on people's lives. Spencer also recently led a revision of the company's brand promise, which changed from 'The real life company' to 'Healthier, longer, better lives', which, although so straightforward as to risk being forgettable, aligns nicely with the aims of Vitality. Spencer has also played an out-front role in making the most of a relationship with brand ambassador David Beckham, appearing with the famous footballer on a 'healthy living tour' around the region.

Stuart A Spencer | Group CMO | AIA Group: Stuart Spencer holds overall marketing responsibility for one of the region's largest insurers, including group marketing initiatives, customer propositions and the AIA Vitality offering. The latter, a key part of the company's positioning, creates ongoing engagement among customers by rewarding them for healthy life choices—with incentives ranging from discounts on meals and health-club memberships to premium reductions. While Spencer didn't start Vitality, he is responsible for keeping it ahead of competitor efforts to imitate it, and he argues that it is making a measurable impact on people's lives. Spencer also recently led a revision of the company's brand promise, which changed from 'The real life company' to 'Healthier, longer, better lives', which, although so straightforward as to risk being forgettable, aligns nicely with the aims of Vitality. Spencer has also played an out-front role in making the most of a relationship with brand ambassador David Beckham, appearing with the famous footballer on a 'healthy living tour' around the region.

Nikhil Tivary | CMO, APAC | Johnson & Johnson Vision Care: A notably young CMO, Nikhil Tivary joined Johnson & Johnson in January 2017 after a successful decade at Unilever, where he worked across India, London and Singapore in diverse positions including playing a key role in Unilever’s global, US$4 billion umbrella brand ‘Dirt is Good’. Here he exceeded all financial goals, earning him the Unilever CEO Global Compass Award two years running. At J&J, Tivary has already overseen a 112% ROI on his budget thanks to a new big data and CRM strategy for the region. Recent triumphs include growing Acuvue by 50% and creating seven new campaigns in partnership with Google, Facebook and Tencent that are now rolling out globally. One campaign raising awareness of childhood myopia scored a phenomenal 431 million views within 48 hours of its release and saw 2 million customers make donations.

Nikhil Tivary | CMO, APAC | Johnson & Johnson Vision Care: A notably young CMO, Nikhil Tivary joined Johnson & Johnson in January 2017 after a successful decade at Unilever, where he worked across India, London and Singapore in diverse positions including playing a key role in Unilever’s global, US$4 billion umbrella brand ‘Dirt is Good’. Here he exceeded all financial goals, earning him the Unilever CEO Global Compass Award two years running. At J&J, Tivary has already overseen a 112% ROI on his budget thanks to a new big data and CRM strategy for the region. Recent triumphs include growing Acuvue by 50% and creating seven new campaigns in partnership with Google, Facebook and Tencent that are now rolling out globally. One campaign raising awareness of childhood myopia scored a phenomenal 431 million views within 48 hours of its release and saw 2 million customers make donations.

Naomi Yamamoto | Executive creative director | Shiseido: As beauty brands go, Shiseido is arguably the most adventurous. This is largely down to its century-old in-house creative department, which Naomi Yamamoto has evolved to be at the forefront of change in the way brand communications are produced. More than three years on, people still talk excitedly about ‘High School Girl?’, and the brand continues to create work that is visually arresting as well as challenging and experimental. A recent example explored LGBTQ romance, an area fraught with pitfalls for advertisers. Yamamoto understands the importance of adapting content to different channels better than most, and of keeping an open mind when it comes to the creative process. She still sees value in advertising agencies, but in an interview last year suggested that individual rather than corporate relationships will drive the best creative work. “It’s not a company-to-company, but a person-to-person approach that we will see in the future,” she said.

Naomi Yamamoto | Executive creative director | Shiseido: As beauty brands go, Shiseido is arguably the most adventurous. This is largely down to its century-old in-house creative department, which Naomi Yamamoto has evolved to be at the forefront of change in the way brand communications are produced. More than three years on, people still talk excitedly about ‘High School Girl?’, and the brand continues to create work that is visually arresting as well as challenging and experimental. A recent example explored LGBTQ romance, an area fraught with pitfalls for advertisers. Yamamoto understands the importance of adapting content to different channels better than most, and of keeping an open mind when it comes to the creative process. She still sees value in advertising agencies, but in an interview last year suggested that individual rather than corporate relationships will drive the best creative work. “It’s not a company-to-company, but a person-to-person approach that we will see in the future,” she said.

Welcome to Campaign's ...
Sam Ahmed | Global head of ...
Dhiren Amin | Head of ...
Edward Bell | General ...
Harish Bhat | Brand ...
Tanin Buranamanit | CEO of ...
Juliana Chu | Digital and ...
Frederique Covington ...
Anindya Dasgupta | Global ...
Ravi Desai | Director, ...
Sonali Dhawan | CMO and ...
Adam Diamond | Director, ...
Peggy Fang Roe | Chief ...
Francis Flores | Global ...
Foo Siew Ting | CMO, ...
Rashi Goel | VP consumer ...
Cheryl Goh | Group VP ...
Richa Goswami | Total ...
Yoshiko Iwamoto | Head of ...
John C Jay | President of ...
Simon Kahn | Chief ...
Sanjeev Kapur | CMO (APAC ...
Rudy Khaw | Group head of ...
Kaveri Khullar | Marketing ...
Francesco Lagutaine | ...
SY Lau | Senior executive ...
Rex Lee | Regional ...
Younghee Lee | CMO | ...
Steven Li | CMO | Yum ...
Joanna Lu | VP of ...
Mathew Morgan | Marketing ...
Shinichi Nakamura | GM of ...
Shankar Nath | CMO and SVP ...
Karen Ngui | Managing ...
Lynette Pang | Assistant ...
Jee Seon Park | APAC Media ...
David Porter | Vice ...
Lisa Ronson | CMO | ...
Stuart A Spencer | Group ...
Salman Subakat | CMO | ...
Phan Minh Tien | CMO | ...
Nikhil Tivary | CMO, APAC ...
Steve Tsoi | VP of ...
Chris Tung | CMO and ...
Tricia Weener | Global ...
Mie-Leng Wong | CMO Asia, ...
Swift Xie | Board member ...
Christine Xu | China CMO | ...
Jasmine Xu | President of ...
Naomi Yamamoto | Executive ...
Glory Zhang | Chief brand ...
Editor's note - See the latest version of the Power List:
Power List 2020: Asia-Pacific's 50 most influential and purposeful marketers

You might say we’re fond of industry recognition. From our Agency of the Year, Tangrams and PR Awards to our 40 Under 40 and Women to Watch lists, Campaign Asia-Pacific has a long tradition of vetting and selecting the industry’s best and brightest in marketing communications.

And while brand marketers join the best agency talent in winning many awards and do make their way onto some of our lists, there has been no definitive place to recognise the top marketers across Asia-Pacific. Until now.

These are the promoters and defenders of the brand names that inspire customer loyalty, love and—sometimes—the exact opposite. Corporations hold their brands dear, and most members of this list have not merely distinguished themselves as able custodians, but as brand enterprisers. The best marketers these days are not only adapting to the digitization of their customer experience and sales models but also taking advantage of it, using connected channels to reach a loyal base and deliver a strong brand purpose.

It’s called the Power List because these are the influential ones. Some of these leaders have power by virtue of their market reach, ad spend and sales results. Others lead smaller brands with rising reputations or are maverick marketers who punch above their weight by making noise to good effect. Either way, we’ve considered recent efforts and actions to not only build brands but also contribute to industry growth.

The list was the subject of much debate and many rounds of intense discussion among Campaign editors. However, if there’s a marketer whom you feel deserves to join this distinguished group, do get in touch. The Power List will be updated annually based on recent activities and brand fortunes.

So congratulations to all the members of this year’s Power List. We will continue to watch your efforts and we hope your work continues to inspire others in the industry to succeed.

Here is a list of the 50 members of the inaugural Power List (alphabetical by family name):

  • Sam Ahmed, Global head of digital and retail marketing and insights, Standard Chartered (Became Facebook APAC director of paymants and financial services partnerships in January 2019)
  • Dhiren Amin, Head of marketing, SEA, Kraft Heinz
  • Edward Bell, General manager brand, insights and marketing communications, Cathay Pacific
  • Harish Bhat, Brand Custodian, Tata Sons
  • Tanin Buranamanit, CEO of Marketing and Distribution, CP Group
  • Juliana Chu, Digital and analytics director, APAC, Kimberly-Clark
  • Frederique Covington Corbett, SVP marketing APAC, Visa
  • Anindya Dasgupta, Global head of consumer business and chief marketing/sales officer, Fonterra
  • Ravi Desai, Director, mass and brand marketing, Amazon India
  • Sonali Dhawan, CMO and fabric business unit head, P&G India
  • Adam Diamond, Director, Asia Pacific integrated marketing and brand strategy, Starbucks Asia Pacific
  • Peggy Fang Roe, Chief sales and marketing officer, APAC, Marriott International
  • Francis Flores, Global brand CMO, Jollibee
  • Foo Siew Ting, CMO, Asia-Pacific and Japan, HP
  • Rashi Goel, VP consumer communications and e-commerce, Nestlé India
  • Cheryl Goh, Group VP marketing, Grab
  • Richa Goswami, Total brand experience officer, Johnson & Johnson
  • Yoshiko Iwamoto, Head of online marketing strategy, SoftBank
  • John C Jay, President of global creative, Fast Retailing/Uniqlo
  • Simon Kahn, Chief marketing officer, Asia Pacific, Google
  • Sanjeev Kapur, CMO (APAC including Japan), MetLife
  • Rudy Khaw, Group head of branding, Air Asia
  • Kaveri Khullar, Marketing director, Southeast Asia, Mastercard
  • Francesco Lagutaine, Chief marketing and experience design officer, Manulife
  • SY Lau, Senior executive vice president and chairman of group marketing and global branding, Tencent
  • Rex Lee, Regional director, Southeast Asia, Asus
  • Younghee Lee, CMO, Samsung
  • Steven Li, CMO, Yum China
  • Joanna Lu, VP of marketing, Greater China and Korea, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Mathew Morgan, Marketing director, Vans APAC
  • Shinichi Nakamura, GM of Japan consumer marketing, Panasonic
  • Shankar Nath, CMO and SVP, Paytm
  • Karen Ngui, Managing director & head of group strategic marketing and communications, DBS Bank
  • Lynette Pang, Assistant chief executive officer (marketing), Singapore Tourism Board
  • Jee Seon Park, APAC Media and digital director, L'Oréal
  • David Porter, Vice president global media - Asia, Africa, Middle East, Turkey and Russia, Unilever
  • Lisa Ronson, CMO, Tourism Australia
  • Stuart A Spencer, Group CMO, AIA Group
  • Salman Subakat, CMO, Paragon Technology & Innovation
  • Phan Minh Tien, CMO, Vinamilk
  • Nikhil Tivary, CMO, APAC, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care
  • Steve Tsoi, VP of marketing for China, Nike
  • Chris Tung, CMO and president of Alimama, Alibaba
  • Tricia Weener, Global head of marketing, commercial banking, HSBC
  • Mie-Leng Wong, CMO Asia, Middle East and Africa, Mondelez International
  • Swift Xie, Board member and CMO, DJI
  • Christine Xu, China CMO, McDonald's
  • Jasmine Xu, President of ebusiness, brand operations and new retail, Greater China, P&G
  • Naomi Yamamoto, Executive creative director, Shiseido
  • Glory Zhang, Chief brand officer of consumer business group, Huawei

 

Use these links for more Campaign Asia-Pacific recognition lists. 

 

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