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Michel de Rijk steps down as S4 Capital and Media.Monks' APAC CEO

Michel de Rijk steps down as S4 Capital and Media.Monks' APAC CEO

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Michel de Rijk has stepped down from his role as chief executive officer APAC at Media.Monks and S4 Capital Group after four and a half years as he looks to focus on "different priorities in life", according to a LinkedIn post by the marketing veteran. 

Don't miss: Media.Monks chief growth officer Tobias Wilson parts ways with agency

In his post, de Rijk noted that his time at Media.Monks and S4 Capital Group was a "journey" in what was probably the "most difficult circumstances I could ever imagine".

"As everyone who has been based in the APAC region during this period will agree, COVID hit us harder than anywhere else in the world," he wrote. "From extended lock downs, social gathering bans, the inability to visit family for years, attend weddings and funerals of loved ones because of closed borders to food package deliveries to colleagues' homes and oxygen deliveries to hospitals. But also, the unfortunate loss of (ex)colleagues and friends because of the horrible virus. The emotional impact on many will be there for years to come."

He continued by saying that despite this, the team launched a new company, brought 33 acquisitions globally and nine in the APAC region together under one structure, grew the business by 700% and expanded across the region.

"But mainly, [we] brought a team together that was able to become one and care about each other and the goals we were trying to achieve," he said. 

Unfortunately, de Rijk acknowledged that all this "came at a cost". He said:

I did run my internal battery empty. It impacted my personality, who I am and what I stand for. It impacted my family and joy in life.

When MARKETING-INTERACTIVE reached out, de Rijk said that he decided to leave to focus on himself and the ones he cares about. "After some reflection, it was clear that the trajectory I was on, was no longer good for either," he said. 

He added that he will take some time to recharge, learn new things and "tickle the brain" in a different way. 

"There are so many interesting developments, of course around AI and such, but I haven’t been able to focus on purposeful initiatives as much as I wanted to so that will be a priority," he said to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE. 

When asked what his next steps will be, de Rijk noted that he is sure something will come along but that "it might or might not be in the world of marketing".

"I guess it’s for everyone, including myself a big guess now," he concluded. 

Ignacio Liaudat will act as an executive sponsor and interim regional leader for the content practice in APAC, while the agency recruits for the position to be filled permanently, according to Media.Monks. 

Liaudat leads the agency's Latin America region and recently spent significant time with the teams in APAC helping to connect the region to strategies its global goals. He will work closely with de Rijk during a three-month transition period as well as Kenny Griffiths - its leader of data and digital media in the APAC region. "We see this as an opportunity to further integrate our teams and set a good foundation for the next stages of growth in the region," said a spokesperson at Media.Monks. 

de Rijk joined Media.Monks and S4 Capital Group four and a half years ago and was the first direct WPP manager at S4. In his role, he focused on digital content, media planning and buying, as well as first-party data.

Prior to his last role with GroupM, de Rijk was APAC president of [m]PLATFORM and Xaxis CEO of Asia Pacific before that.

In a LinkedIn post at the time of his appointment, de Rijk said he had never expected it to be “such an amazing ride” when he was first contacted to run and build Xaxis Asia Pacific seven years ago. “Starting from a single desk to our 21 offices across the region with hundreds of superstars working day in and out, to deliver the vision we had all set out and establish what programmatic advertising stands for today,” he said. 

Related articles:
Media.Monks China names new executive creative director
Sorrell picks former Xaxis chief Michel de Rijk as S4 Capital's APAC CEO
Former Xaxis CEO Michel de Rijk steps down from global GroupM role

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