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Restructure at Dentsu Aegis sees APAC consolidated with expanded mandate for regional leaders

Ashish Bhasin, Takaki Hibino and Henry Tajer

With a view to simplifying its business and giving its leaders a greater degree of autonomy, Dentsu Aegis Network has put in place a new structure for the Asia-Pacific region, reducing the number of regional clusters from five to three.

Under the new structure, the business has been split into ‘Greater North’ which includes China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea; ‘Greater South’ which includes India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Myanmar; and finally ‘ANZ’ (Australia and New Zealand).

The previous structure was built around the five clusters of South East Asia, North Asia, South Asia, China and ANZ.

Ashish Bhasin who previously was chairman and CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network South Asia, has been promoted to CEO of Greater South, based out of India.

Given Singapore’s role as a regional hub, it will exist as a distinct entity from Greater South. Masaya Nakamura, who was recently promoted to deputy chairman and chief growth officer for the Asia-Pacific region, will lead the Singapore operations.

A search is currently underway for a CEO of the Greater North region. Takaki Hibino, someone who replaced Nick Waters as executive chairman of Dentsu Aegis Network Asia Pacific, in February will oversee Greater North in the meantime.

Henry Tajer, who recently moved from Amazon to join Dentsu Aegis Network, as CEO of Australia and New Zealand will continue to lead the business in the region.

In China Susana Tsui, who joined just a year ago from PHD as CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network China, is stepping down.

She will be replaced by Michelle Lau who has worked with agencies that were part of the DAN before and after the merger of Dentsu and Aegis. She has been managing director at Carat China and was most recently chief commercial officer at Dentsu Aegis Network, before leaving in 2015.

Global CEO of Isobar Jean Lin has been given the additional mandate of non-executive chairperson of Dentsu Aegis Network China and will work closely with Lau.

Speaking about his mandate and how it came about, Bhasin told Mumbrella: “That’s a question you should be asking Hibino-san.

“I have been in the system; this is my 11th year in Aegis. And this is only my second job so far, because before this I was with Lintas. I ran South and South East Asia as CEO of Aegis pre-merger which may have been in consideration.

“Also, we have done pretty well in South Asia with spectacular growth over the last few years.” 

Speaking about the role, Bhasin said: “These are some of the most high growth and high potential markets, which will bring a new challenge every morning.

“The more synergies we can bring in, the better. I am familiar with the territory thanks to my previous experience, but things change and now I have to plunge in to take the team to new heights.”

Reflecting on the challenge the markets presented, Bhasin added: “How do we make this large dynamic market retain its ambitious growth path and be very agile?

“Unlike mature markets in the western world, you need to take quick decisions, and empower the regions.”

Asked if there were any plans to implement a regional version of the ‘one country, one P&L’ model, Bhasin said: “I don’t think that will change. But we will make the most of the opportunity of synergy in terms of flow of talent, supporting clients across different geographies and the transportation of learning. “

In a statement on the changes, Dentsu Aegis Network APAC executive chairman Takaki Hibino said: “This new structure will give leaders the ability to run their markets with autonomy and speed, as business is happening at an increasingly faster pace in every market across this region.

“Our clients’ needs are evolving, so simplifying structures and bringing a level of autonomy to the clusters gives these diverse businesses the ability to respond to clients’ changing needs in an effective way.

“Ashish has proven himself to be an exceptional leader. Under his direction, India today stands to be one of the most important revenue growth markets for Dentsu Aegis Network globally.

“I know he will be able to replicate the same story for the important Southeast Asia markets as well, even as he continues to fuel growth in his current responsibilities for South Asia.”

“I thank Susana for her leadership and many contributions she made to our business in China and wish her all the best for the future.

“Michelle is a great leader and candidate for the role, especially considering her wealth of experience with the group. Michelle as lead and Jean Lin taking on the chairperson role at Dentsu Aegis Network China will support the growth and further development of this highly important market.”

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