Meet the CEOs: Dentsu Aegis Network's SK Biswas

Dentsu Aegis Network Indonesia promoted SK Biswas from chief operating officer of Dentsu Aegis Network Indonesia to take on the CEO role in April last year. He was brought in to lead the agency into the future and had large shoes to fill, succeeding industry veteran Harris Thajeb. Thajeb, at that point, was posed to take on the role of non-executive chairman and continue to work closely with SK Biswas focusing on local stakeholder relationships.

Biswas, who had been chief operating officer of Dentsu Aegis Network Indonesia since September 2016, had over 25 years’ experience in the communications industry, more than half of which are in senior leadership positions in emerging markets, managing creative, media and digital agencies.

A little over a year into the role, we sit down with him to see how his year has panned out.

How do you describe your management style?

Hands-on in the early stages to establish the operating principles, followed by driving the team to believe in the incredible power of vision, will-power and working together to make a difference.

Who was the mentor who influenced you the most and how?

It has been just over a year with Dick Van Motman, but I have to say it’s him. We run one P&L in every market with the widest range of services and an incredibly diverse talent pool. So, setting the right organisational structure, culture and behaviour can be complex, but is key to success. It’s interesting to listen to Dick on organisational leadership, behaviour and more importantly learn from when he pauses or goes quiet.

What has been the proudest moment in your career?

Isn’t pride the first of seven deadly sins?

SK Biswas 2

What inspires you the most?

The day to day discussions, thoughts and ways toward gotong royong (shared responsibility).

What’s the toughest part of your job?

Seeing some of the best talents move on.

What has been the harshest thing said to you?

I would say the other way around, when people keep quiet and don’t speak their mind; that’s harsh.

What do you do in your free time?

Read and listen to poetry.

How do you ensure a proper work life balance?

Tough, it remains a challenge.

What is your favourite vacation spot?

It would be Bali in Indonesia and Montreux in Switzerland.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone just starting out?

Always make time for yourself, pause and think about the long term. It’s easy to lose oneself in the daily grind.

What issue would you like to see the industry change in 2018?

Third party industry standards on digital measurement and accountability.