Grey Singapore names new chief creative officer after Ali Shabaz departure

Grey Group Singapore has appointed DDB’s Tim Cheng as chief creative officer for Singapore market, four months after the agency parted ways with Ali Shabaz, the creative chief behind the fake I Sea app.

Shabaz, who was Grey’s Southeast Asia chief creative officer, had been with the agency for seven years before he moved to Grey’s Dubai office in February.

Cheng will solely lead the creative department in Singapore, having held the same role at DDB China Group/Tribal Worldwide China for the last four years.

He will report to Subbaraju Alluri, area director and chief executive officer for Singapore and Thailand.

“Cheng is a well-respected professional and his work has consistently pushed the boundaries of creativity. I look forward to working closely with him, and am confident that he will take our creative capabilities and output to the next level,” Alluri said.

Ali Shabaz

Grey was mired in controversy last year when its I Sea app, which supposedly enabled people to scan the Mediterranean ocean for stranded boats carrying fleeing migrants, was called out as a fake.

Grey reluctantly returned the Bronze Lions it won at Cannes, with  global head of communications Owen Dougherty saying the agency had been the victim of “unwarranted, unfair, unrelenting attacks by unnamed bloggers.”

It was also withdrawn from the Ad Stars shortlist.


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