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Leo Burnett Malaysia COO Michelle Ong named Dentsu One CEO

Malaysian ad land veteran Michelle Ong has left her role as the chief operating officer for Leo Burnett to take over leadership of Dentsu One in Kuala Lumpur.

Ong, who has led strategy at the Publicis-owned creative agency for the last five years, will take over from Dentsu One Malaysia’s current chief executive officer Omar Shaari from January next year.

Meanwhile, Dentsu Japan director Atsushi Kurokawa will move into the role of agency vice president and lead Malaysian operations alongside Ong.

Shaari was recently named CEO of Posterscope, Dentsu Aegis Network’s OOH specialist agency.

DAN Malaysia CEO Nicky Lim said: “We have a good track record of new businesses, and these appointments at Dentsu One, along with several other executive leadership changes made earlier within the group, have given us a stronger management team. Alongside Kurokawa, we welcome Ong and the potential she holds that will unlock many more opportunities for Dentsu One.”

Ong has more than 25 years of experience in the creative industry, having worked for Ogilvy & Mather and McCann Worldgroup.

She spent a year as head of brands at Proton Berhad, Malaysia’s national automotive company, before re-joining the advertising world as Leo Burnett’s COO in 2013.

In her new role, Ong will become the first female CEO of Dentsu One Malaysia in the agency’s 12-year history. She said: “At the rate the industry is evolving in today’s digital economy, we cannot afford to fragmentise.

“Marketers are expecting holistic, integrated marketing solutions from agencies. In this respect, collaboration is so crucial, in order to leverage expertise across the network to cater to marketers’ needs. I believe Dentsu Aegis Network is leading on this front with a singular vision across the whole business, that is to innovate the way brands are built.”

Ong’s move marks another blow for Leo Burnett Malaysia after the agency lost its account with Tenaga Nasional in favour of IPG Mediabrands, despite making one of Malaysia’s most viral ads of the year.

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