Audrey Kuah, Dentsu Aegis Network’s (DAN) executive director, media group, APAC and current executive team member, is leaving the network at the end of March to pursue other opportunities. She was first appointed to the role in March last year, in addition to her role as managing director of DAN’s global data innovation centre (GDIC).
Kuah first joined the network in 2011 as CEO of formerly known Aegis Media Singapore, and is credited to have transformed the group and its brands Carat, Vizeum, Posterscope, Isobar and iProspect. Separately in December last year, DAN’s spokesperson told Marketing that it is closing its GDIC which was first launched in 2016 at the end of 2019. The spokesperson added that the products of the global data innovation centre “have been transferred to several markets” for continuation in their respective markets or regions.
Kuah said in the eight years that she has been with DAN, she has been given incredible opportunities to help establish the business in the industry.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the work that I got to develop and appreciate the clients and colleagues that I have had the privilege to meet along the way. But the time is now right for me to explore external opportunities where I can continue to share my industry knowledge and expertise in a different environment, and I am leaving with confidence that the Media business is in the best hands under client president Prerna Mehrotra,” she said.
Meanwhile, APAC head of commercial SK Biswas is leaving the business to return to India. Before taking on his current role in early 2019, Biswas was previously the CEO of DAN Indonesia for over a year and was succeeded by Maya Watono in January last year. He has more than 25 years of experience in the communications industry, more than half of which are in senior leadership positions in emerging markets, managing creative, media and digital agencies.
Mehrotra (pictured left) will oversee networks brands within the Singapore Media line of business which include iProspect, Carat, Vizeum, Amplifi, Amnet, and Posterscope. She joined DAN in 2016 and was responsible for delivering regional cost commitments across key global regional clients for close to four years before taking on her current role.
Meanwhile, VP, commercial and partnerships, DAN Amplifi Asia Pacific, Sunil Naryani (pictured right), and DAN’s regional investment director, Anshuman Purohit (pictured centre), will jointly take on trading and investment roles. Naryani has worked at iProspect, Ultraviolet Digital Solutions, GroupM, and Ogilvy, while Purohit helmed leadership roles at MediaCom before joining DAN.
According to DAN, the management shuffle “is in line with the network’s one Dentsu strategy that aims to drive greater simplification and joined-up thinking” and aligned with the new global business model announced last December, of simplification into three key pillars of creative, media and CRM.
Mehrotra added that she has been working closely with DAN Singapore CEO Prakash Kamdar, Kuah and the rest of the executive team on its Singapore strategy in the past few months and is excited to formally part of the process to bring the network to the next phase of growth.
“It is an honour to be handed the responsibilities of looking after our Media line of business in Singapore, which Kuah has steadily and successfully developed. Building a media practice fit for our clients’ needs in the rapidly evolving digital environment is our imperative and we believe at DAN we have the best-in-class capabilities that will enable our clients to win and grow. I look forward to working with the team to continue scaling our Media offerings,” she added.
Kamdar, who was promoted to the role in September 2019, said Kuah has been working very closely with Mehrotra to help drive its strategy and is keen to see her take over the reins now that the strategy is starting to pay dividends.
“Since joining us in 2011, her work has been nothing short of transformational. We are deeply appreciative of her contributions towards establishing us as the powerhouse that we are today. She has successfully led client development and marketing across Southeast Asia and built a media performance practice fit for marketing in the digital economy,” Kamdar said. He added that Kuah’s stewardship of its first global R&D centre in collaboration with the Economic Development Board in Singapore also yielded several successful projects that have been transferred to markets globally.
“Kuah is an astute digital, marketing, advertising and business leader who will be a valued asset wherever her next adventure may take her. I wish her the very best when she leaves at the end of March,” he added.
Kuah’s and Biswas’s departures add to the list of senior executives who have left DAN over the last year. In December 2019, the network announced that its Asia Pacific chief creative officer is leaving after seven years, adding that there is no immediate replacement for his role. Dick van Motman also stepped down from his role as global CEO, creative and content last November, taking on the role as advisor to executive chairman and CEO Tim Andree. Nick Waters, Henry Tajer, and Susana Tsui were also among the senior executives who left last year.
Dentsu is also restructuring its business and reducing its headcount by about 11% in seven markets – Singapore (including regional headquarters), Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany and the UK (including the global headquarters of the international business). This represents a reduction of 3% of the total headcount of the international business, as well as property rationalisation and other related impacts.
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