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Y&R South East Asia CEO Andrea Conyard ‘part of merger process’ as future remains unclear

New Y&R Southeast Asia chief executive Andrea Conyard will be “part of the integration process” of VML and Y&R as speculation continues to swirl around the future of the latter’s management team.

Conyard, who was named CEO in July but did not start until September, is among those whose positions are in doubt following WPP confirmation of the merger late last month.

Speculation is mounting that Y&R Asia president Chris Foster will leave the agency amid the merger which, so far, has leaned heavily in favour of VML management.

The new merged operation will be led by VML global CEO Jon Cook, while the former global boss of Y&R, David Sable will take a non-executive chairman as he transitions to an as-yet unspecified role in WPP.

In Asia, VML Southeast Asia chief executive Tripti Lochan and VML China chief executive Yi Chung Tay have been appointed co-CEOs of VMLY&R.

One regional Y&R executive with a role in the new operation appears to be newly appointed Y&R Greater Bay Area China managing director Damien Tew. On his LinkedIn profile, Tew, who arrived from Digitas Hong Kong, has updated his role to MD of the merged entity, VMLY&R.

Andrea Conyard: Unclear future

It is unclear whether Conyard, the former Havas Creative Singapore CEO, has taken a similar title. In addition to being CEO of the region, Conyard was also named chief growth officer.

Asked about the future of senior Y&R management, a spokesman said: “Given the significance and importance of creating a new agency, the unification process will take time and we’ll be using the remainder of 2018 work together on integration, including our management teams. Andrea will be a part of that process.”

The agency refused to be drawn on reports that Foster will leave Y&R.

Chris Foster

Canadian-born Foster, former global clients president at Publicis Groupe, joined Y&R in late 2017 as a wave of optimism swept through the agency.

Following a year that saw a number of senior departures, Foster said in July that the agency had created a “culture of winning” through the practice of “creative intelligence”.

WPP said the combination of VML and Y&R will create a new force in the industry.

VMLY&R will have more 1300 employees over 12 offices in Asia when it becomes fully operational in early 2019.

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