Former MD at Isobar Malaysia Ben Chew (pictured left) is joining BBDO Malaysia as MD, effective 1 October, replacing GM Farrah Harith-McPherson (pictured right). Harith-McPherson is understood by A+M to be joining m/SIX as GM and will be reporting to MD Sheila Shanmugam. A+M has reached out for comment.
Chew was previously with Isobar Malaysia for four and a half years, leading the team to commercial and creative success, as well as helping the agency achieve double-digit growth, according to the press statement. Before that, Chew spent a decade at McCann Malaysia, where he served as GM for three years. According to Chew, his time at McCann Malaysia was "the most pivotal years of his career" as it was there he developed his strong management competencies and business network.
His remit also included developing the agency’s key assets, such as the McCann Business School – the agency’s internal learning programme – establishing PR and newsroom requirements. With 25 years in the industry, Chew has worked with some of Malaysia’s best brands including P&G, Unilever, Johnson and Johnson, Mondelez, MasterCard, OCBC, RHB, KFC, mudah.my and Pepsi, to name a few. Chew said he believes that in helping drive success for clients, teams need to be relentless in pushing the limits of creativity and infusing technology into every great creative idea and consumer experience. “As much as it is about doing great work, it is our people at the heart of it all who make the work, work!” he added.
Meanwhile, Harith-McPherson first took on the role at BBDO in 2017, replacing John Teoh. Before joining BBDO, she was with M&C Saatchi Malaysia as client services director. During her time there, she worked on new business while leading a diverse portfolio of clients including Malaysia Airlines, PETRONAS and Volkswagen. Prior to that, she helmed the GM role at Crush Communications, a local independent agency, where she successfully acquired key clients such as Daimler Chrysler, RHB Bank and Unilever.
Jean-Paul Burge, Chairman and CEO, BBDO Asia, said it met with some great people while searching for an agency lead for BBDO Malaysia. Chew stood out as someone who is going to not only get the job done, but do it in a way that is going to elevate the agency’s core competencies and creative output in the service of our clients.
"He has solid experience leading teams that transformed clients’ businesses through insightful and innovative creativity. We look forward to seeing him succeed at BBDO," Burge added.
Separately, m/SIX recently launched its APAC hub in Sydney, with Kevin Rooney taking the reins as APAC CEO, based out of Singapore. The hub is backed by WPP and under the ownership structure between The&Partnership and GroupM. This is not the first time Rooney is leading m/SIX. He was involved in establishing the agency in the region in 2013, helming the role of MD of m/SIX APAC before taking on the CEO role of Mindshare Japan and Korea last August.
The agency was appointed to handle global media planning and buying for Electronic Arts in May this year, beating out Starcom, Havas and Hearts and Sciences.