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BBH Singapore creative named global CCO as Pelle Sjoenell exits after voicing concerns over agency growth

Joakim Borgström

BBH Singapore chief creative officer Joakim Borgström has been promoted to worldwide chief creative officer at BBH. He takes over from Pelle Sjoenell who will be leaving to join video game developer and publisher Activision Blizzard as chief creative officer.

Borgström has over two decades of experience and has been at the helm of the Singapore operations of BBH since end 2016. He has previously worked for Goodby Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam and DoubleYou in Barcelona.

Pelle Sjoenell

In a recent interview with Mumbrella, Sjoenell had come across as being disillusioned with the advertising business. He had said that “while it was a great time for innovation, it was a tough time for business” and that “the agency was not growing as much as we want to”. 

He had also admitted that it was “super difficult” to maintain BBH’s principles and rebellious “black sheep” stance when they came up against lower budgets or risk averse clients as was sometimes the case in Asia.

Sjoenell is not the only high profile creative leader to have exited the industry. Earlier this year, former Publicis Groupe chief creative officer Nick Law left after in less than 18 months – going on to join Apple as vice president of marcom integration, a newly created position. 

Speaking about Sjoenell’s exit and Borgström’s promotion, BBH global CEO Neil Munn said: “Pelle has been with BBH for over a decade and has made a substantial contribution to our business in that time. He set up our thriving office in LA and has nurtured our accelerating presence across North America. 

“Of course, you never want to lose a great leader, but we do so with excitement for what lies ahead in his next chapter, and a sense of pride in what he will go on to achieve. 

“I am delighted that we are able to promote Jab into the worldwide chief creative officer role. He is proven on the global stage and, after five years as a Black Sheep, is already a fine carrier of the BBH creative flag. Jab’s progressive view on creativity is sure to be an energising catalyst for the whole of our business.”

Sjoenell himself said: “To lead BBH creatively has been the honour of my life. To have worked alongside Neil Munn, my partner in crime, and had the mentorship of Sir John Hegarty, my hero, has been absolutely incredible and I am eternally grateful. 

“I never thought I’d do anything else after 12 years, but Activision and the future of gaming hits right where my dreams and passions have always lied. 

“To pass this amazing baton to Jab feels so damn good. He’s someone I have looked up to and been inspired by throughout the years and I feel very confident that the Black Sheep will be in the hands of a great creative leader and shepherd.” 

Borgström added: “I feel honoured and humbled to have been given the responsibility to carry the Black Sheep flag and walk it into the future. I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity. If this is a dream, please don’t wake me up.”

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