GrabAds nabs senior adland talent to strengthen foothold in SEA region

Southeast Asia’s superapp, Grab, has appointed David Baser as head of advertising and personalisation technology; Ashu Mathura as head of product, ads at Grab; Margaret Chang, as the regional head of small and mid-sized business (SMB); and Dave Yang as the regional head of direct sales organisation for GrabAds. The four media and technology industry veterans were added to the team to strengthen the technology, product and distribution capabilities of its advertising offerings. They will also broaden the presence of GrabAds, across Southeast Asia to become a full-funnel advertising solutions provider. 

Baser will lead the company’s efforts to build technology capabilities that help people discover, engage, and connect with businesses across Southeast Asia. Formerly from Facebook, he was instrumental in leading the social media company’s advertising offerings, including leading the launch of Instagram’s self-service ads product and growing the Facebook Pages platform to support business transactions. Beyond advertising, Baser also led Facebook’s implementation of GDPR as well as its privacy team.  

Mathura will be responsible for the product strategy and expansion of Grab’s suite of marketing solutions to better support large and small advertisers to create, deliver and optimise its campaigns for measurable growth and impact. Prior to this, he was with advertising technology companies, Criteo and Adform, where he was involved in delivering customer-centric products and propositions. 

Chang and Yang will be responsible for enhancing GrabAds’ partnership abilities in helping it engage its target audiences through ads on the Grab platform. Chang will also play a key role in helping SMBs enhance visibility for its businesses across the Grab platform, and contribute to the company’s commitment to supporting the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Southeast Asia region.

According to the press release, Chang was with Yahoo! Ads prior to this, where she was in charge of regional sales and search ads operations for Southeast Asia, India, and Taiwan.  Prior to his appointment, Yang was seen leading tech companies Facebook and Snap through heavy involvement in the building and scaling of teams as the founding member of sales functions in Asia Pacific and Los Angeles, United States, respectively.

“I believe that they will strengthen our advertising capabilities and position GrabAds as an integrated full-funnel advertising solutions provider in Southeast Asia," regional managing director and head of GrabAds and brand insights, Ken Mandel said. He added that Grab believes there’s tremendous potential for brands to partner with it to unlock new consumer experiences on its platform. 

GrabAds was launched in 2018 as the company’s advertising business unit in a bid to provide brands with an online-to-offline (O2O) platform to engage with millions of Southeast Asian consumers. The advertising platform, married an extensive on-ground fleet of vehicles with digital presence across eight countries and more than 200 cities in Southeast Asia. It allowed brands to distribute appealing content and create in-car and digital experiences for consumers. GrabAds aimed to use its big data capabilities, local market insights and O2O presence to create meaningful customer engagement for brands that lets them segment their audience and cut through the noise.

Aside from this, Grab Indonesia recently announced its hunt for a new country marketing head in Indonesia. It is looking for a candidate with at least 10 years of experience in strategic planning and execution. According to its LinkedIn job post earlier this month, the appointed candidate role will be responsible for strategising and executing country marketing plans across Grab’s different businesses including transport, food, groceries, deliveries, financial services and any new businesses it will launch in the future. Managing a team of marketers, including PR, digital marketing, social media, CRM, partnerships and creative, will also fall under the responsibilities of this role. The ideal candidate should have at least three years in a leadership position and knowledge of the Indonesian consumer market.

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