DDB Group Singapore names chief strategy officer

DDB Group Singapore has appointed David Shaw as chief strategy officer to head its brand consulting and planning divisions. The role is newly created and will see him reporting to David Tang, CEO of DDB Group Singapore and Asia.

Prior to the move, Shaw was a regional marketer and marketing communications leader at HP and Lenovo. This was before co-founding a Challenger brand consulting practice trained by and aligned with Adam Morgan of “EatBigFish”. He has also held stints as copywriter and creative head at Saatchi, JWT and BBDO in Singapore and Canada.

According to the agency, the move is a "homecoming of sorts" for Shaw. When he was creative director at JWT, he worked with the likes of Neil Johnson (creative chairman), Chris Chiu (chief creative officer), Joel Chin, Chris Lim and Chew Ping Nan (creative group heads), all of whom are now at DDB.

The move also signals DDB’s aim to move upstream towards being a marketing agency. According to a press statement, the agency is revamping its offering, evolving its planning methodology through new insights and marketing solutions through its T-divisions. It is also offering consulting modules to drive growth-driven brand strategy, activation, employee engagement and organisational alignment for clients.

“Shaw is an exceptional practitioner: He’s a creative-turned-client-then-consultant, and gets what clients want from an agency in creative marketing solutions. What’s more, he’s a gentleman who fits our ‘talented and nice’ mould at DDB. I think clients will like his marketing sense and savvy,” Tang said.

“We’ve created an agency for serious clients, so we need a team of incredible talent. With Chiu on board in our creative engine room, we want to ramp up strategy and planning. It doesn’t get any better than David Shaw. But I’m going to have a hard time dealing with two Davids,” Neil Johnson, creative chairman at DDB Group Singapore, added.

“I’ve been a fan of DDB for a long time – huge respect for what Tang and Johnson have accomplished at the agency – so it was hard to resist the call.  But what struck me when I got here is how tightly knit Jeff Cheong, Melvin Kuek, Chiu and the teams are. You need that trust and collaboration to scale your success in these challenging times,” said Shaw.

Shaw's appointment follows DDB's move to boost its management firepower in the past year. Just in November, the agency hired then-JWT ECD Chris Chiu as its chief creative officer. It also brought on former Y&R MD Melvin Kuek to take on the role of managing director at DDB. Before that, DDB brought on board Guillaume Pagnoux as chief planner to become part of the leadership team helmed by Tang, Neil Johnson and Jeff Cheong, president of Tribal Worldwide Asia.

This followed the formation of independent creative agency Blk J, which led to familiar DDB faces Rowena Bhagchandani (managing director), Joji Jacob (group ECD), Khalid Osman (creative director) and Lester Lee (creative director) taking on the new arrangement.