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Leo Burnett Singapore names creative chief Chris Chiu as CEO

Pawan Bahuguna, Rachel Xu, Chris Chiu

Pawan Bahuguna, Rachel Xu, Chris Chiu

Leo Burnett’s struggling Singapore office has ended its search for a new chief executive and handed chief creative officer Chris Chiu the top managerial role.

Chiu, one of the network’s brightest stars in Asia over the last decade, re-joined the agency after three years running his own shop, Renn Partnership, earlier this year following the departure of CEO Josh Grace, who has since moved to a client-side marketing role. Chiu takes the top job in addition to his current duties as CCO.

In a press statement, Chiu said that the immediate focus of the agency is to do two things better – the work, and a creative culture that allows better work to thrive.

“The first is to continue to create work that’s memorable and impactful. The kind of work we’ve done before on several of our roster clients. Work that people on the street talk about and work that gets results. They actually are one and the same,” he said.

“The second is to create an environment internally that efficiently delivers the first. Again, it’s not just to be efficient operationally, but efficient in structure and casting with the purpose of creating the output we want. Memorable and impactful output that will have people talking.”

The agency has also named Samsung business director Pawan Bahuguna as COO and senior copywriter Rachel Xu as associate creative director.

Chiu worked for Burnett for more than a decade, firstly as ECD of the Jakarta office, then in Bangkok and finally in Singapore, where he was group ECD for more than five years.

In February, Chiu told Mumbrella that Leo Burnett Singapore needed to “inject ourselves back into the industry.”

“The priority is to win companies that want great work. From there, let’s what we can do,” he said.

“Good clients and good work go hand in hand. Awards will happen; they are our currency. But people aren’t impressed by pretty posters anymore,” he said.

“Singapore has had a strong reputation for creativity in the past, and we want to be part of a push to restore that reputation.”

In recent times, Leo Burnett Singapore has lost key clients UOB and Great Eastern, but won some new business such as Allergen and projects for Double A, Lazada, MBT and SkyScanner.

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