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Maxus APAC lead takes on global role, APAC management scrapped

Maxus APAC CEO Ajit Varghese (pictured) will head the global market development team at GroupM’s merged MEC-Maxus entity “NewCo”, sources close to Marketing confirmed. He will report to MEC’s global CEO Tim Castree, who will be leading the new agency. CEO of MEC Asia Pacific Peter Vogel is also tipped to helm a new role which will be announced at a later date.

This comes as GroupM plans to scrap its Asia Pacific management for “NewCo”. Varghese will be in charge of most markets including Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Most recently, Desh Balakrishnan, managing director of Maxus Singapore, was appointed to the role of managing director for “NewCo” in Singapore last month. Meanwhile, Allison Coley, managing director of MEC, will remain in the agency to ensure a smooth merger with Maxus before transitioning into a new regional role in “NewCo” by the end of 2017.

Prior to the new role, Balakrishnan joined Maxus Singapore as the managing director in August 2014, taking over from Lena Goh. He reported to Ajit Varghese Maxus CEO APAC and Jon Thurlow, then-CEO of GroupM Singapore. Coley was appointed to her current role in January this year, and was tasked with driving new business growth as well as managing talent in the agency.

Ajay Gupte, managing director of MEC Indonesia, was also appointed the managing director of “NewCo” last month. Maxus Indonesia’s managing director Partha Kabi will take on a similar role role at MediaCom Indonesia, effective 1 October 2017.

Prior to the appointment Gupte was MD of MEC Indonesia since 2011. Kabi joined Maxus Indonesia as its MD in 2011. Under his leadership, Maxus Indonesia saw multiple new business wins, developed a wide portfolio of new and innovative products and services, according the press statement.

In June, Michelle Achuthan, managing director of MEC Malaysia, was appointed the managing director of “NewCo” in Malaysia. She was previously the MD of BBDO Malaysia for four and a half years and is a 27-year veteran of the advertising industry, having also worked with other leading agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi and J. Walter Thompson.

All their roles will come into effect in January 2018.

The appointments follow WPP’s GroupM’s plans to merge the global operations of media agencies MEC and Maxus into “a new billion dollar revenue, media, content and technology agency” under the leadership of Castree. This will result in GroupM now having three global media agency networks – Mindshare, MediaCom, and the new company – each with more than one billion dollars in annual revenues, said GroupM in a press statement. A spokesperson from GroupM told Marketing that there is a six month transition period where Maxus and MEC “will be combined into a powerful new media, content and technology agency proposition”.

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