JWT chief creative Chris Chiu and Y&R's MD Melvin Kuek head over to DDB Singapore

DDB is seeing major change in its management as familiar DDB faces such as Rowena Bhagchandani (managing director), Joji Jacob (group ECD), Khalid Osman (creative director) and Lester Lee (creative director) take on a new business arrangement, and start up their own independent creative agency. The new agency known as Blk J will be working with client StarHub, and was started in partnership with DDB.

Simultaneously, DDB is adding on firepower by hiring JWT ECD Chris Chiu, who is joining the team as chief creative officer, while former Y&R MD Melvin Kuek is taking on the role of managing director. Most recently, Guillaume Pagnoux also joined as chief planner to become part of the leadership team helmed by David Tang, Neil Johnson and Jeff Cheong.

David Tang, CEO of DDB Group Singapore and Asia said, “Having helped set up Blk J, we’re bringing on the champions team at DDB for the next lap. Chiu, Kuek and Pagnoux fit the ‘talented and nice’ DDB style and add to the pretty long list of top-class performers already under the DDB Group roof."

Joji Jacob,  currently co-founder and creative partner, Blk J, said, “The marketplace and media are getting increasingly complex. Blk J is really four people coming together to do one thing well. Solve business problems in as many ways as possible with as few buzzwords as we can. We are also thankful to DDB for giving all four of us the greatest of opportunities during our time here and for supporting us as we go independent.”

Jacob had been with DDB for over seven years and has also worked with the likes of BBDO, Bates, Ogilvy & Mather and JWT. He added BLK J’s stated ambition is to become the partner of choice for the best brands of the new economy.

Meanwhile Bhagchandani, co-founder and CEO, Blk J added, “We believe there is place for the small and nimble in the market today. Agile agencies that can help brands navigate a landscape that is changing in real-time. We may have sixty years of experience combined but this is day one for us and we are raring to go."

She was promoted to managing director in 2013. Bhagchandani’s role was previously chief client officer and was  the brand and business director at the agency before that. She joined the agency eight years ago.

Tang added, “This is DDB at its very best in creativity and humanity. We believe in a collaborative world where we must encourage and support our very own talent to grow and thrive, even to give them the wings to soar. We wish Blk J the strength and stamina to stay adventurous and stay dedicated.”

DDB has also had a slew of hires recently adding on six new creatives and the well known Mr Miagi to its team.   Most recently DDB launched a global tech hub, Equator, with the support of the Economic Development Board and opened its first satellite office in Temasek Polytechnic. Equator will serve 200 DDB offices worldwide and groom the next-generation creative tech talents in Singapore.