Ranga Somanathan steps down from OMG SG and MY CEO role

After nearly four years in the role of CEO of Omnicom Media Group (OMG) Singapore and Malaysia, Ranga Somanathan will be stepping away from the post. In his role, Somanathan (pictured) was charged with the leadership of all Omnicom Media Group assets in Singapore and Malaysia, working alongside the senior management team and leads for OMD and PHD.

Somanathan joined OMG from Starcom Mediavest Group where he last held the position of COO of SEA and head of global network clients for the region. Prior to that, Somanathan led VivaKi Malaysia, which included Starcom Mediavest Group and Optimedia Malaysia, as CEO.

In a conversation with Marketing, Somanathan said having built a strong succession plan through his second in line team across both markets, he is stepping aside to “empower the brand leaders to steer the business and reinforce the growth and stability of OMG’s operations in SG and MY”.

“By end of next quarter, I would have done four business plan cycles in this role. Together, with my leadership team, we have achieved significant progress in Singapore and Malaysia – strong client satisfaction scores, Y-O-Y improvements in employee engagement scores and good momentum in local new business wins. The business is in good shape and I am confident that under their helm, OMG Singapore and Malaysia will ride the recovery wave as we come out of the COVID-19 crisis,” he added.

Across both markets, Chloe Neo will now be in charge of OMD Singapore, Priya Alexander will be in charge of PHD Singapore, along with Eileen Ooi and Anisha Iyer to oversee Malaysia. He added that these leads are in a good position to lead their respective brands forward. When asked what words of advice he’d like to leave the industry with, Somanathan said, “Don’t waste a good crisis is a mantra that I have been preaching, I decided to practice what I preach.”

More here on his departure:

Marketing: What will you be doing next?

Somanathan: I will take a short break. My parents would have visited us ideally in March/April, which didn’t happen. If air travel opens up, I will most likely head back to Mumbai for a bit to spend time with my parents. On the career front, there are a few streams at play but early days to share any details for now.

Marketing: What are some changes you hope to see in the media industry?

Somanathan: Over the last few years, we have seen a major shift towards lower funnel activity. Having no competitive advantage in brand equity and positioning, and enamoured by the ability to deliver to the individual, we have shifted majority of marketing initiatives to tactical activities. With the pause that we had over the last couple of months, consumers are now being more mindful of their choices and seeking more meaningful experiences. This new reality requires brands to pivot quickly to build back empathy in their marketing communication and start building competitive advantage at the top of the funnel. I believe that brands that pivot with agility will have a V shaped recovery as they come out of the crisis. This pause in our lives has also made our talent question the value of work and the trade-off in quality of life. This is especially so amongst the younger demographic. This requires organisations to revisit the employee value proposition that each company espouses, creating a fun, learning and result-oriented environment.

Marketing: What are some of your proudest moments in your current role?

Somanathan: My moments of pride always come with enabling people to realise their potential. Many in my team, across both countries, have dropped me a personal note to thank me for making a positive difference in their lives. I am extremely humbled by that. Of course, winning new business and garnering industry accolades are great motivators but I personally get energised by empowering my teams to succeed.

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