INTI tipped to name replacement as marketing chief Timothy Johnson steps down

Timothy Johnson, SVP, marketing, product and partnerships at INTI International University and Colleges is stepping down from his role after nearly seven years. Johnson (pictured) first joined in 2014 as VP, marketing from Standard Chartered Bank and was responsible for all marketing and PR-related activities, according to his LinkedIn.

INTI is under Laureate Education which recently sold the brand to China-based and Hong Kong-listed HOPE Education Group, an operator of higher education institutions, for US$140 million. Founded in 1986, INTI Education Group joined the Laureate International Universities network in 2008 and now serves more than 16,000 students. As a result of the acquisition, Johnson said he has decided to seek new challenges. 

"The journey at INTI over a seven-year period was a journey of taking an old, historic brand and making it into a contemporary one that resonated with both parents and kids alike. We created the funniest video content that spanned generations and races," Johnson said.

A+M understands that AVP, marketing Wendy Lai will be overseeing the team in the interim, after having been part of the team for nearly five years leading communications. Lai joined INTI in 2015 with the objective of driving acquisition of higher learning students across local and international markets, her LinkedIn said. Before that, she was the division head, consumer business at 3M for more than two years, and regional marketing manager, Southeast Asia at Mars Petcare for about five years, according to her LinkedIn. 

Meanwhile, it is also understood that CEO Tan Lin Nah has left post-acquisition while VP, finance Kok Fai Wong and assistant manager, digital marketing Joshua Michael are currently serving their notice. INTI declined to comment on A+M's queries about Lai's appointment and the recent departures.

According to Johnson, the team started the concept of festive videos for higher education and "its competitors soon followed". Some of the videos Johnson was responsible for included presenting a lighter take on students receiving SPM results, putting a comedic spin to the realities of student life, and a comedic parody featuring lives of students post-MCO.

He added that INTI was the only higher education brand to sponsor BLACKPINK. At the same time, he said it also created plenty of noise and traction in the marketplace with its INTI mobile app as a result of great engagement with the target audience.

"My key takeaway during my tenure here was the amazing people that I worked with, the 17,000 students who created amazing memories daily and our staff who worked tirelessly to ensure our students outcomes. This was a place where magic was created daily and I was witness to that daily," he added.

When asked what his takeaways from the pandemic were, Johnson said it has taught him to change its go-to-market strategy with video content and video counselling in lieu of prospects visiting the school. Overall, having worked in marketing and sales for the last 27 years, Johnson said that he has succeeded by being nimble, learning to adapt and learn and always staying curious. He added that the education sector gave him an opportunity to understand Gen Zs and their evolution up close and personal.

"I have yet to decide on my next step. I look forward to an organisation that is forward looking, that wants to push the boundaries to drive revenue and wants to remain relevant now and for the foreseeable future," he said. Prior to INTI, he held leadership roles at Standard Chartered, Citigroup and Nestle.

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