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These were the region's most interesting CMO moves in 2023

These were the region's most interesting CMO moves in 2023

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The marketing industry is extremely fast-paced and exciting with consistent new developments both with the work and with the people doing the work. This year has been no exception and we have seen some incredible movements in the industry.

From promotions to resignations and new remits, MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has tracked them all. As we wrap up the year, here are some of this year's most interesting chief marketing officer moves that have captured the attention of our readers.

Don't miss: PRecious Communications' director of strategic advisory steps down 

1. StanChart's Suresh Balaji departs to join Lloyds Banking Group as CMO

In October, Standard Chart's global head of marketing and communications Suresh Balaji left the firm to join Lloyds Banking Group as its new chief marketing officer, effective from 16 October. 

Balaji now oversees the group-wide brand, marketing and experience function. He is also responsible for creating and maintaining the group’s inclusive and sustainable portfolio of brands, developing marketing strategies, driving creative excellence, and designing customer experiences to contribute to business growth.

"To be Lloyds Banking Group’s CMO at this point in its history is truly an honour and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Balaji said. 

2. PropertyGuru Group names Disha Goenka Das as new CMO

In January this year, property tech company, PropertyGuru Group, appointed Disha Goenka Das as chief marketing officer. As CMO, Das will oversee the group’s brand strategy, corporate communications function, as well as the environmental, social and governance (ESG) mandate. She is part of PropertyGuru's Group leadership team and will report to CEO and managing director, Hari V. Krishnan.

With over 17 years of deep brand experience and expertise in marketing, Das will help accelerate the group’s growth trajectory across five markets – Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia – as it creates Southeast Asia’s trust platform for property. Das will also build the ESG mandate for the group and focus on creation of long-term financial and social value for stakeholders by integrating material ESG issues into company strategy.

“My role is an exciting opportunity to contribute and make an impact on the group’s role in the Southeast Asia property industry and I look forward to bringing my experience in tech and marketing to help offer solutions that continue to better all our stakeholder experiences,” said Das. 

3. McDonald's names Brenda Kou as new regional CMO for Asia business unit

McDonald’s promoted its vice president of integrated marketing group for Taiwan Brenda Kou to regional CMO of its Asia business unit this October.

Within her new role, Kou will report to Thomas Ko, head of McDonald's Asia business unit, with a dotted line to Eugene Lee, international CMO of McDonald’s. She will be tasked at overseeing the strategic marketing plans for 12 markets across Asia, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, and working closely with the local MDs and CMOs to develop their long-term strategies.

Kou said on LinkedIn: “I am humbled to explore learnings and best practices across markets and look forward to working and collaborating horizontally with marketing and leadership teams.  Together let’s serve our customers better, elevate our brand higher, and build our business stronger.”

4. WWF promotes former CMO Vivek Kumar to CEO

WWF Singapore, in November, appointed veteran marketer Vivek Kumar as chief executive officer from January 2024.

Kumar brings a wealth of diverse leadership experience spanning over two decades, including notable tenures at multinational corporations, and in Singapore's public sector. He was previously an assistant director-general at the National Trades Union Congress and a board member of Labour Movement entities such as NTUC Link.

His journey at WWF-Singapore started in 2021 as the chief of marketing, communications, and fundraising, where he forged partnerships to raise crucial support for the work of WWF-Singapore. He is also the architect of the inaugural WWF Global Earth Hour Summit 2023.

"WWF-Singapore strives to bring people together to act for nature and our shared well-being. This purpose is more relevant for our planet today than perhaps ever before. It is an honour to be designated to lead a team of talented and dedicated fellow Pandas at WWF-Singapore. We will work with our donors, supporters, corporate partners, and policymakers to create a sustainable future for all of us," Kumar said at the time.

5. McDonald's names Asia marketing chief Eugene Lee as international CMO

In May this year, McDonald's promoted Asia CMO Eugene Lee to international CMO for the international developmental licensed (IDL) segment. In his role, Lee oversees all international regions outside of the US including Latin America, Europe, Middle East and Asia.

Prior to his new role, Lee was the company's Asia CMO and was tasked with overseeing the strategic marketing plans for 12 markets across Asia and worked closely with the local MDs and CMOs to develop their long-term strategies.

On the global front, Lee said that he wants to be the ambassador and voice for Asia to ensure the region gets its fair share of spotlight on the international stage. "I am part of the McDonald's Global Creative Council and take it as my personal responsibility to ensure that McDonald's marketers from across the globe get to experience the fantastic work coming out of Asia," he explained.

6. Marriott International names John Toomey new CMO for APAC

In August, Marriott International named John Toomey as its new chief sales and marketing officer for the APAC region (excluding China). In his role, Toomey will oversee the consumer strategy for Marriott International in the region, including brand management, marketing, sales, distribution, revenue management, loyalty, customer experience, digital and communications.

As a 27-year Marriott-veteran, Toomey has held a strong track record for driving performance and collaboration. Under his leadership, Marriott entered a partnership with digital giant, Rakuten, tapping into their 110-million-member base to expand the growth of the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty platform.

During his time at Marriott, Toomey helmed various senior roles including the vice president of sales and marketing, Asia Pacific (excluding China), where he was responsible for setting the strategic vision and performance and is responsible for sales, marketing and other relevant parts.

7. Mohamed Adam Wee Abdullah leaves CMO role at Manulife Malaysia

Veteran marketer, Mohamed Adam Wee Abdullah left his position of CMO at Manulife Malaysia in March this year. 

According to his LinkedIn, Wee has more than three decades worth of experience in marketing. He was previously with CIMB for over five years, from 2015 to 2020, during which he was responsible for driving innovative marketing through the deployment of martech and adtech. Wee was also responsible for establishing a regional operating model across multi-country governance and operations. 

According to his LinkedIn, his scope of work involved group marketing and brand management, group sports and sponsorship management, group digital marketing management, and group service quality management. He also worked as the CMO of Sunrise and spent six years with Astro, last helming the role of director, brand management, strategy.

Currently, Wee is the midst of starting his journey as a startup founder. 

Related articles:
DDB Worldwide names new president, CCO International 

Matthew Godfrey joins Media.Monks to head up APAC content practice 
Ex-foodpanda marketing director launches new sustainability-focused agency 

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