Desh Balakrishnan to lead merged MEC-Maxus Singapore entity

Desh Balakrishnan (pictured), managing director of Maxus Singapore, has been appointed to the role of managing director of the newly combined MEC and Maxus “NewCo” agency in Singapore. The role will come into effect in January 2018.

Meanwhile, Allison Coley, managing director of MEC, will stay in MEC to ensure the smooth merger with Maxus before transitioning into a new regional role in “NewCo” by the end of the year. However, GroupM confirmed to Marketing that no other decisions have been made on other regional appointments. According to Tim Castree, CEO of MEC and “NewCo”, with the merger of Maxus and MEC, there comes a need for talent to lead and inspire.

“Under Balakrishnan’s leadership, I am confident that we have the right team in place to truly blend the best of MEC and Maxus and make NewCo Singapore a formidable future-facing agency,” Castree said.

Prior to the new role, Balakrishnan joined Maxus Singapore as the managing director in August 2014, taking over from Lena Goh. He reported to Ajit Varghese Maxus CEO APAC and Jon Thurlow, then-CEO of GroupM Singapore. Before that, he was an executive director at Havas Media and held various roles in Mindshare Singapore, AGI Communications and Chuo Senko Advertising.

He brings with him a vast knowledge of the local industry as well as the experience of having handled many major accounts in his 14 years in the media field. This includes leading local brands such as DBS Bank, Frasers Centrepoint Malls,  NTUC Fairprice Group as well as global brands such as LG Electronics, Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas & Saxo Capital.

The news is hot on the heels of a string of appointments being made in the SEA region. Just last Friday, Michelle Achuthan, managing director of MEC Malaysia, was appointed as MD of the newly combined MEC and Maxus agency in Malaysia.  Meanwhile, Arup Bansal was appointed to lead the merged agency in Vietnam.

The appointments follow WPP's GroupM's plans to merge the global operations of media agencies MEC and Maxus into “a new billion dollar revenue, media, content and technology agency” under the leadership of Castree. This will result in GroupM now having three global media agency networks – Mindshare, MediaCom, and the new company – each with more than one billion dollars in annual revenues, said GroupM in a press statement.

A spokesperson from GroupM told Marketing that there is a six month transition period where Maxus and MEC “will be combined into a powerful new media, content and technology agency proposition”.