GrabAds picks dataxu’s James Sampson as regional head of strategy & partnerships

GrabAds has confirmed to Marketing that it has appointed James Sampson (pictured) as the regional head of strategy & partnerships. Sampson takes over from Nasheet Islam, who has returned to Google as head of global strategy, app ads monetisation earlier this month. He will report to Ken Mandel, regional head of GrabAds & brand insights.

Sampson brings more than nine years of experience at martech company dataxu. He was most recently the dataxu’s VP and general manager for APAC, according to his LinkedIn. Having joined the business’s Boston HQ as director of revenue previously, Sampson relocated to Singapore for the past five years to spearhead the company’s expansion in the region. Through dataxu’s programmatic marketing software and analytics technology, Sampson helped multinational clients with their campaigns and digital transformation.

Prior to dataxu, Sampson managed Nokia’s mobile advertising unit global strategy. As the strategy and development manager, he pursued partnerships focusing on new business models, tested emerging technologies, and worked to bring about alternative monetisation opportunities for Nokia’s devices, services, and partners.

“His expertise and knowledge in adtech, coupled with his strategic mind, will serve us well as we move into an exciting phase with GrabAds. Grab’s super app is increasingly part of a brand and retailer’s multi-channel ad mix, as they seek to relevantly insert themselves into consumers’ daily routines,” said Mandel.

According to him, the company is currently testing a few ways of delivering ads that are integrated with various Grab services in a bid to offer a differentiated advertising platform that is powered by the unique insights from its daily super app consumer use cases. In addition to Sampson, GrabAds also welcomed regional head of direct sales Novita Jong, who was the general manager, Asia (excluding Japan) and executive director at Shuttlerock.

Mandel joined GrabAds as regional head in November 2018 to create hyper-personalised experiences for consumers and grow Grab’s advertising offerings including fleet advertising and in-app customer engagement. He left his role as president, innovation and commerce, Asia Pacific at Publicis Media earlier in the year, and brings with him work experiences at Starcom, Hootsuite, Salesforce and Yahoo.

In August 2018, Grab launched its advertising business unit, GrabAds, to offer brands with an online-to-offline platform to engage with millions of Southeast Asian consumers. Among the list of brands it works with include Pepsi, Unilever and Shopee.

On dataxu’s front, SEA regional director Alvin Wong and ANZ country manager Shane Hanby will take over Sampson’s duties and report to Mike Shaw, VP international, based in London. Commending Sampson for his contribution to the business’ continued success, Shaw said: “Sampson’s consistent evangelism for programmatic and his leadership in Asia Pacific has played a crucial role in growing not only dataxu, but the industry at large.”

“It has been a great journey working alongside some of the brightest minds in programmatic at DataXu these past nine years, and I am glad that I can leave the company’s APAC operations under the responsible stewardship of Shane and Alvin,” said Sampson.