DDB has appointed Jeff Cheong as chief executive officer for its Singapore office, effective 1 January 2022. As part of its succession plan, Cheong will take over the Singapore office CEO role from David Tang, DDB Asia CEO who will also assume the role of chairman for the agency group.
Over the past 15 years, Cheong has worked side-by-side with Tang and vice chairman Neil Johnson to grow DDB into Singapore’s leading agency group. Cheong joined DDB in 2008 as managing director and executive creative director of Tribal Worldwide Singapore. Under his creative leadership, he has shaped Tribal into an award-winning digital agency.
Cheong also developed DDB’s Total Experience (TX) approach to offer service design, technology consulting, and business transformation for clients such as Changi Airport, JTC, Exxon and Manulife. In 2018, Cheong was appointed deputy CEO of DDB Group Singapore to spearhead the agency’s growth. Over the past few years, he has led the agency group to win Marketing Magazine’s Overall Creative Ideas MARKies for four consecutive years from 2018 to 2021.
With more than 25 years’ experience, Cheong has worked with some of the biggest brands in the region including Unilever, Nokia, Heineken, Exxon, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald's, Volkswagen, Citibank, Japan National Tourism Organisation, Singapore Airlines, and Uniqlo. At DDB, he has led many of the work for government agencies, including the Public Utilities Board (PUB) and the National Environmental Agency (NEA).
Cheong is known for his ability to swiftly bring new ideas to market and fresh impetus to brands. His recent Covid-19 vaccination campaign featuring Phua Chu Kang for the Ministry of Communication and Information (MCI) made international headlines in The Guardian, CNN and other leading media outlets.
In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, when asked about his new role and ambitions as CEO of DDB Singapore, Cheong said, “ This has never been a overnight role but something I’ve been building over the last six to eight years to prepare ourselves to be an agile organisation. The pandemic was a test of our system and we produced quite a bit of chart-topping works.”
2022 is a year of rebuilding and I believe there will be a lot of sectors who will emerge as strong players to gain new market share. We want to be part of the growth.
He added that DDB Singapore’s focus has always been on clients business and that will always be the core of what the agency does. “Tang and Johnson have built a very strong foundation for me to lead the next generation of leaders to be more adventurous in our solutioning for our clients,” he said.
Cheong said the agency will now move away from tried and tested formats and turn views into engagement. “We’ve produced our first feature-length documentary and we are working on a multi-verse-platform series. Above all, we will continue to invest in our people. As an advocate for continuous education, a new bespoke training module designed together with leading Universities and Polytechnics will up skill our people to tackle the fast-changing demands of our industry,” he added.
“DDB gave me all the opportunities and now it’s given me the mantle for leadership,” said Cheong. “We have an incredible team and talent at DDB with the momentum we created over the last 20 years. I’m both honoured and excited to lead our next generation to meet the challenges of the future.”
Tang added, "We have to give a wonder of a talent such as Cheong- creative maverick, digital revolutionary, and energiser man - wings to soar. A fast-and-agile, omni-channel, social-frenzy world calls for a new kind of creative leadership, and we’re supporting Cheong to bring us to where no agency has gone before.”
“We have an incredible leadership team in Asia, especially Singapore,” said Marty O’Halloran, CEO of DDB Worldwide. “Unexpected Works – our new global positioning – is focused on delivering exceptional marketing work for clients, led by some of the best practitioners in the business like Tang, Jeff Cheong, Eugene Cheong, and Johnson at the helm.”
Last year, Eugene Cheong, former Ogilvy APAC creative chief, joined DDB Asia as chief creative officer. He will work alongside Asia CEO David Tang to support its offices in China, Hong Kong, Seoul and Singapore on global and big local brands growing across Asia.
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