Publicis Groupe MY names new CEO as Tan Kien Eng steps down

Publicis Groupe Malaysia's CEO Tan Kien Eng (pictured left) is stepping down from his role after more than four years. Loris Nold, CEO for Publicis Groupe Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, confirmed the news to A+M, adding that Neil Hudspeth (pictured right) will take over as CEO for Publicis Groupe Malaysia, reporting to him. "Tan has decided to leave the Groupe to focus on the next chapter of his personal and professional life. I wish him good luck," Nold said but declined to comment on his plans for Malaysia and Asia Pacific in 2021.

Tan was first appointed as CEO of Publicis Groupe in 2016 and was CEO of Leo Burnett Malaysia prior to that, a role he took on in 2007. He joined ARC Worldwide Malaysia in 2004 as executive director and ECD. He has over 30 years of experience in the communications industry, first as a creative and later as the leader of the agency. Tan told A+M that his last working day with the Groupe is 31 January, after the agency requested an extension from 8 January. 

"I have to say I will truly miss my colleagues and clients. Looking back, I was amazed to learn I've worked together with some of them for over 20 years. They are not just colleagues, clients and friends but instead, they have become part of a larger family," he said. 

When asked about the memorable work he has created during his time with the Groupe, Tan named PETRONAS' corporate and festive communications, including the campaign Tan Hong Ming in Love, helped place the oil and gas company on the global map. 

"I am grateful for Hudspeth to sit in as the interim CEO until the group find a suitable candidate. He officially starts 15 January 2021. Hudspeth is a friend and we have worked together for more than a decade," Tan said.

According to Nold, Hudspeth is a native Malaysian by birth and has lived in Asia for over thirty years. His career includes owning and leading digital transformation, brand and Integrated creative agencies across four continents. During his time in the industry, Hudspeth established London-based digital brand consultancy, Netcomms UK, and was CDO for Publicis One Asia Pacific, and latterly the chief experience officer for Publicis Groupe in Japan, which also included leading MSL Japan. In 2013, Hudspeth took on the global client leader role for McDonald's across Asia Pacific covering 11 markets, and in 2018, he also added Nestlé Asia to his portfolio of responsibilities.

"I can’t think of a better leader to take on this role at a time when we are focused on unlocking growth for our clients in a platform world," Nold said. 

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