McCann Worldgroup reshuffles global leadership, hands APAC chief new role

McCann Worldgroup has reshuffled its leadership, appointing Asia Pacific president Alex Lubar (pictured left) to lead North America as president. He is succeeded by Ghassan Harfouche (pictured centred), group CEO of the Middle East Communications Network (MCN), McCann Worldgroup’s and Interpublic Group’s partner network in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

Harfouche joined MCN in 2011, and leads a network in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey encompassing 14 different Interpublic Group advertising, media and PR agency brands in 15 cities, across 13 countries. His experience includes working with many of the agency brands that are part of the core offering of McCann Worldgroup. The brands include FP7 McCann, Commonwealth//McCann, MRM, McCann Health, Momentum, and Weber Shandwick in addition to other IPG media, promotional and ad agency units in that region.

Harfouche joins Prasoon Joshi, chairman of McCann Worldgroup Asia, CEO and CCO of McCann Worldgroup India, in overseeing the APAC region’s operations of 26 offices in 13 markets, including affiliate agencies. Harfouche said that he looks forward to seeing the McCann network grow, and considers himself “fortunate to be working with the most innovative and creative global marketing network in McCann Worldgroup because they have been the greatest possible partner in building the most successful network of agencies in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.”

Joshi said he looks forward to partnering with Harfouche in this next phase. “Harfouche’s experience working with the highly creative and effective agencies we have in the Middle East and North Africa will make him a great and fitting partner in the Asia Pacific region. His deep understanding of integrated marketing solutions will also greatly benefit our clients who are increasingly expanding the ways in which they are connecting with consumers,” he added.

Meanwhile, APAC CFO and representative director of McCann Worldgroup Japan, Ji Watson (pictured right), has been named CEO of McCann Worldgroup Japan. She has nearly 30 years of marketing industry experience and over two decades of experience in senior management roles on the client-side, working for Turner Broadcasting, Coca-Cola and Samsung. She moved to the agency side with global roles at Ogilvy for seven years before she joined McCann Worldgroup APAC in 2016.

In addition to Joshi’s APAC leadership and management of South Asia, and Watson’s dual roles in Japan and in APAC, other sub-regional hubs are led by two other leaders. They are namely Emily Chang, CEO, McCann Worldgroup China, formerly CMO for Starbucks and Apple; and Nick Handel, president, McCann Worldgroup Southeast Asia, and APAC regional director for MRM. 

Bill Kolb, Chairman and CEO of McCann Worldgroup said that the three leaders have each demonstrated “an impressive ability to drive client growth and creatively effective marketing solutions before and even during the difficult period of the pandemic”, adding that they are “great collaborators who know how to leverage our culture and capabilities to help our clients achieve success”.

“What they’ve accomplished with their teams in their respective regions, including expanding our integrated communications offering to clients, has been a key element of how we’ve continued to build our business as we prepare for the era of increased client activity when the pandemic ends,” said Kolb.

On Watson’s appointment, Kolb said that she is “central to the growth and expansion of operations across APAC”, adding that McCann Worldgroup Asia Pacific has placed increased focus on bolstering individual markets under strong local market leadership in the past two years.

“APAC is a region of enormous significance for us as it encompasses the second and third largest advertising markets (China and Japan). Greater connectivity between the regions will lead to increased opportunities. We have some of our best talent in the network focused on APAC and I’m excited to see what the future holds,” said Kolb.