Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – VMLY&R Malaysia has announced four new strategic senior creative hires as part of the agency’s new vision of creative excellence, reinforcing VMLY&R’s positioning as a powerhouse for brand experience (BX) and customer experience (CX).

Suryadipura Salleh joins VMLY&R Malaysia as executive creative director, handpicked for his unique creative vision and brand of leadership. He partners ECDs Phoecus Lee and KC Aui to set new benchmarks of creative excellence across the agency. A former creative director at Naga DDB, Surya brings with him over 18 years’ experience in various creative roles. 

Meanwhile, rounding out the team of creative directors that include See Yee Chan, senior creative director of experiential; and Ai Vee Lim, creative director of digital, is Suffian Rahman and Maura Soewarna

Rahman brings with him more than decade of digital, social and GLC experience and expertise, and was most recently creative director for POS Malaysia Berhad. As part of the expansion of creative commerce capabilities across a wider region, he is joined by Soewarna in her new role as creative director for Indonesia. Formerly the associate creative director at ADA Indonesia, Soewarna comes with ten years of experience and an intimate knowledge of the Indonesian market and will be responsible for driving overall creative excellence and new business in Indonesia.

As part of the agency’s vision of offering sharper, stronger, and more innovative creative capabilities, another key senior creative is Loreen Eva Lim, who has been appointed as head of integrated creative services. She brings with her almost 20 years of production experience, most recently as head of content partnerships at MBCS; and will be responsible for streamlining and optimising the agency’s creative services delivery, project management, and boosting creative capabilities with innovation and tech.

The senior creative leadership team are supported by associate creative directors: Chow Tatt Ho, Simon Yip, Abiseshana Mohan and Zahir Mazlan.

All of the new hires will be based out of VMLY&R Malaysia’s office in Kuala Lumpur and report to VMLY&R Malaysia Chief Creative Officer, Didi Pirinyuang.

“This additional firepower supercharges our creative and specialist capabilities across all disciplines and every touchpoint of the brand, customer and commerce experience journey; mirroring the agency’s formula of success for brand management and strategic planning,” Pirinyuang said.

Meanwhile, Kenni Loh, chief creative officer at VMLY&R Malaysia, commented, “We are thrilled to welcome this dynamic cohort of creative minds to our burgeoning team. In an era, which calls for brand and customer experiences to be seamlessly intertwined with commerce, their talents will undoubtedly drive innovation and elevate the connected experiences we craft for our clients. Malaysia, with its rich tapestry of cultures and progressive digital landscape, offers a fertile ground for creative exploration, and our new team members are poised to harness this potential to its fullest. The future of BX, CX and commerce is bright and with our reinforced creative team, we more ready than ever to lead the charge.”

APAC – Global creative agency Amplify, has announced two new key appointments namely, Sabrina Khong as the new associate creative director and Caitlin Todd as a new business lead.

These appointments follow Amplify’s vision of diversifying and strengthening their offering and expertise across multiple fields as an advertising agency. 

Khong joins from Foxtel, where she was an Art Director working on conceptualisation and creative strategy for Foxtel campaigns. Previously, she was an associate creative director at Section in Singapore where she worked with brands such as Uniqlo, PlayStation, Durex, and Nikon.She was also an art director at Publicis Singapore for three years, where she worked on winning pitches for brands including Tiger Crystal, Samsung, HPB and Disney.

On the other hand, Todd comes from three years at integrated social agency, Ground, in Sydney. Prior to that she was with Hill+Knowlton Strategies in London, starting as a junior consultant and working her way up. Throughout her career Todd has worked with a broad range of clients across the entertainment, tech and lifestyle space including Nike, Activision Blizzard, Huawei, Sennheiser, Intel, Oatley, and Team GB.

On these hires, Gareth Davies, managing partner at Amplify, said, “We’re truly excited to welcome Sabrina and Caitlin to the team. Sabrina’s experience delivering quality creative work across multiple mediums, from social campaigns to TVCs and augmented reality experiences along with Caitlin’s experience  across PR, strategy, social and digital makes them both a perfect fit for Amplify.”

Speaking on her appointment, Khong said, “I am thrilled to be collaborating with so many talented individuals in the Amplify team and I look forward to pushing the boundaries of creativity and contributing to the already impressive list of clientele.”

Meanwhile, Todd also commented, “I’m very excited to have joined Amplify and I’m particularly looking forward to working alongside such a talented team as we continue to grow our exceptional client relationships.”

Singapore– L’Oréal has appointed new leaders to steer its strategic direction in the South Asia Pacific, Middle East, and North Africa (SAPMENA) Zone, which was established as a growth region in 2021. The company is making strategic moves to harness its potential in this dynamic market. 

Adrien Koskas was appointed as general manager of L’Oréal’s consumer products division (CPD) in the SAPMENA region on October 1, 2023. He will be in charge of driving CPD’s growth in the SAPMENA Zone, which includes 35 markets and targets young and populous demographics worldwide. 

In his new role, Koskas will report directly to Vismay Sharma, President of SAPMENA, who is based in Singapore.

Koskas has an 18-year career at L’Oréal Groupe, spanning global leadership and marketing roles in both mature and emerging markets. He has served as Garnier’s global brand president since 2019. Leading Green Beauty initiatives, and establishing the brand as a key player in L’Oréal’s sustainability efforts. He previously held senior business leadership positions in France, Brazil, and the United Kingdom, including General Manager of CPD for L’Oréal UK and Ireland. 

Speaking about his appointment, Koskas expressed, “I am thrilled to start my new role as CPD SAPMENA GM and excited to work with the talented and diverse teams in the region to create the future of beauty for all.”

He added, “With 3 billion people, SAPMENA is a highly strategic region full of opportunities and new ways to engage with young, digital and beauty savvy consumers who represent many cultures and beauty aspirations. It is also the perfect environment to embrace cutting-edge innovations in so many fields to deliver our high growth ambition.”

Manashi Guha’s recent appointment as managing director, CPD, for L’Oréal UK and Ireland shows the region’s global leadership. As a founding member of the SAPMENA Zone Management Committee, she was instrumental in defining CPD’s strategic mission within this burgeoning region, and harnessing its vast market potential as the source of 50% of the world’s new consumers.

During her tenure, SAPMENA has not only strengthened its global brands, but also improved L’Oréal’s market approach in the region, laying the groundwork for three years of better results. 

Talking about her appointment, Guha said, “It’s been an honor to lead an incredible team of passionate entrepreneurs in the set-up of SAPMENA. South Asia Pacific with the Middle East is leading the beauty revolution and consumer sophistication with diverse beauty ideals and a dynamic digital culture of on-demand, always-connected and hyper social; we can bring a lot to the rest of the world.” 

I hope to bring that learning into my new role. But more importantly, as an Asian Indian wo(mentor), I believe the world is our oyster – we create our reality by unapologetically being who we are. L’Oréal Groupe is an incredible place to create your own reality where I have been recognized and encouraged for bringing my true self to the table,” Guha added. 

Singapore – Cathay Pacific airlines has announced key changes to its management roles across the Southeast Asian region. 

The appointments span from Cathay Pacific’s regional office in Singapore with new key roles, to new country managers in Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, and Cambodia. 

Cathay Pacific’s regional office in Singapore will see the appointment of Jonathan Ng, regional head of customer travel and lifestyle, Southeast Asia, replacing Ray Fung, who is now head of lifestyle strategy and partnerships in Hong Kong. Prior to his current role, Ng was seconded to HK Express as general manager, corporate planning, he was part of the transition team following the acquisition of the low-cost carrier by the Cathay Group.

Adding to Singapore’s regional office is Ashish Kapur as the regional head of cargo, Southeast Asia, replacing Siddhant Iyer, who will take on the role of head of cargo markets and customer solutions in Hong Kong. Prior to his current role, Kapur was the area manager for Cathay Pacific in Northern Europe, where he oversaw the entire Northern European operations and managed the teams based in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Scandinavia.

Notably, Dominic Perret remains the regional general manager for Southeast Asia, where he is responsible for all commercial, operational and support functions across the seven countries that Cathay Pacific operates in across the region. 

For the new country managers in Southeast Asia, Cathay Pacific has appointed Tony Sham as the country manager for Indonesia, replacing Matthew Choi, who is now general manager of corporate planning for HK Express. Prior to his current appointment, Sham worked as regional head of customer travel and lifestyle for Northeast Asia in Tokyo.

Vishnu Rajendran steps in as the country manager for Philippines, replacing Donald Morris, who is now country manager of Korea. Rajendran was area manager of the Middle East, and was also acting country manager for South Africa & the Indian Ocean, as well as Acting Country lead for Sri Lanka & Maldives.

Robbie Blackwood joins as country manager for Malaysia & Brunei. Based in Kuala Lumpur, he replaces Roger Li, who is now a cadet pilot with Cathay Pacific. Blackwood has gained experience in key areas for Cathay, including cargo, customer experience, and people (HR).

Nicolas Masse also enters as the new country manager for Vietnam & Cambodia, based in Ho Chi Minh City, Masse replaces Jason Choi, who is now regional head of customer travel and lifestyle, Northeast Asia. Prior to this, Masse was Cathay Pacific’s country manager for Korea.

Lastly, Keri Lui remains as the country manager for Thailand, based in Bangkok.

Singapore – DHL Global Forwarding, the freight specialist arm of DHL Group, has announced three strategic leadership appointments in Asia Pacific: Karsten Michaelis as the new president and representative director of DHL Global Forwarding Japan; Edwin Pinto as managing director of DHL Global Forwarding India; and Praveen Gregory as the new SVP Ocean Freight of DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific. 

The new appointments are in line with the upcoming retirements of Kelvin Leung, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific, and Charles Kauffman, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding North Asia and South Pacific (NASP). He will step down from his role after more than five decades of valued service to the group.

Kaufmann will hand over country responsibility for Japan to his successor, Karsten Michaelis, while continuing to look after the cluster until the end of the year.

Michaelis will take over Kauffman’s role as president and representative director at DHL Global Forwarding Japan. In his new role, Karsten will be based in Japan and report to Charles Kaufmann.

Michaelis carries with him an extensive career spanning over two decades in the logistics sector. He has been based primarily in the Asia-Pacific region, in locations such as Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Australia, and Singapore. Since joining the group in 2011, Karsten has taken on several managerial roles for Ocean Freight in Asia Pacific, including his most recent position as SVP, Ocean Freight DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific, in 2017.

On the other hand, Edwin Pinto’s appointment as the new managing director for DHL Global Forwarding India comes after the promotion of Niki Frank as the new CEO at DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific. He is set to assume his new role by September 2023 in India, and he will report directly to Niki Frank.

Pinto is currently serving as the head of sales and marketing at DHL Global Forwarding in Thailand and Indochina. He joined DHL in 2001 in India and has since worked in several management roles across DHL Global Forwarding. 

Working for the automotive sector, Pinto gained experience across various positions until being named sector director DGF for the South Asia, Pacific, and Africa region in 2010. As of 2012, he was promoted to head of key account management at DGF India. Prior to his current role, Edwin relocated to Thailand in 2014, working as Director of Commercial and Customer Program Management at DGF. 

Meanwhile, Praveen Gregory will also assume his new position as SVP Ocean Freight at DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific by September 2023.

In his new role, Praveen will be based in Singapore and will report directly to Niki Frank, with a dotted line to Casper Ellerbaek, the EVP Global Ocean Freight at DHL Global Forwarding.

Before joining DHL Group in Dubai Ocean Freight Operations in 2008, Praveen had worked for Maersk. In 2010, he relocated to Germany and held several roles in market intelligence and strategy and product development. He moved to Hong Kong in 2018 to take on regional management roles in Ocean Commercial Center and Account Management ISC. In 2022, he assumed his current position as VP Order Management Solutions Asia Pacific.

Speaking on the appointment, Niki Frank said, “With Kelvin and Charles retiring this year, it has opened up a few key positions that we had to fill, and I am glad that we could do so with candidates from the network. This goes to show that we can nurture and retain talent while providing the right opportunities for growth to our employees.” 

“All of them bring the right experience, the required expertise and will provide a fresh perspective to these roles,” he added. 

Hong Kong – PRHK,  a Hong Kong based public relations and communications services association, has appointed its new board and sub-committees for the year of 2023-2024,with the new board members complementing the continuity provided through the re-appointment of thirteen board and sub-committee members from last year.

The new board and sub-committees of PRHK are namely: 

  • Carol Yeung, managing director at Golin (chairperson) 
  • Penn Leung, account director at CCG (deputy chairperson) 
  • James Hacking, APAC brand and marketing leader at EY and Carbo Yu, regional executive director at Sinclair (digital co-chairs) 
  • Kevin On, general manager at Hoffman and Natalie Siu, HK general manager at Sandpiper (education & mentorship programme co-chairs)
  • Rachel Lau, PR director at MSL Group and Cody Roberts, partner at MCG Talent (events co-chairs)
  • Kiri Sinclair, founder and CEO of Sinclair (honorary secretary & ESG committee)
  • Stephan Engel, director and market lead at APCO Worldwide and Ben Evetts, head of brand at Cigna (membership co-chairs)
  • Jesa Amparo, account manager at CCG and Cheryl Pan, SVP and general manager at BlueCurrent Group (next gen co-chairs)
  • Elizabeth Lui, senior account manager at Sandpiper (young lion chair)
  • Fran Tam, associate director at Edelman and Katie Forster, managing director at Amara Communications (partnerships & sponsorships co-chairs)
  • David Croasdale, managing director at Newell (treasurer)
  • Adam Chow, senior executive at Sinclair and Camille Thoreau, former public relations associate at Sinclair (young professional representatives)

With its new board members, PRHK’s focus remains to enable active and emerging professionals to navigate the dynamic communications landscape of Hong Kong, while also supporting their members and the wider PR community to gain meaningful connections and facilitate knowledge sharing. 

PRHK’s agendas will also continue to be supported with initiatives including the Annual Hong Kong PR Young Lions Competition, as well as extensive engagement programmes with Hong Kong academic institutions and universities to support and nurture the next wave of professionals. 

Yeung, the newly appointed chairperson of PRHK said, “As the market opened up, we look forward to bringing back our signature events and knowledge sharing initiatives in the coming board year. In addition to innovation across the industry, we also set up an ESG Committee to demonstrate the evolving role of strategic PR and communications across various sectors.” 

“This year we see an even wider board representation with talent acquisition expertise joining us. We believe this will further elevate PRHK as the leading association for public relations and communications professionals in Hong Kong,” she added. 

Singapore – Social and media intelligence firm Meltwater has recently appointed two senior hires to spearhead its customer journey and business functions, as well as to bolster their footprint in the APAC region.

The new appointments are Huixian Yang as customer experience director, and Jeff Piniros as sales development director. These appointments are in line with Meltwater’s expansion in the area, which has been centered on Southeast Asia and Japan. 

In their new roles. Yang will be using her data-driven methodology to deliver exceptional customer service and help define Meltwater’s worldwide framework for customer success. Meanwhile, Piniros will be in charge of developing the pipeline in order to support revenue and growth objectives and develop the upcoming sales talent.

Commenting on both appointments, David Hickey, executive director of Meltwater, said, “Huixian and Jeff will be pivotal in steering the company through our next phase of growth. With the recent launch of Meltwater’s powerful new Enterprise Intelligence Suite in the region, we have also welcomed a slew of key enterprise clients. We plan to continue building on our best-in-class artificial intelligence, natural language processing, computer vision and inference models to expand our capabilities and serve the evolving marketing needs of organizations.”

These hires follow Meltwater’s 52% growth in new business for APAC in Q2 2023, with companies such as PGAG, Shang Properties, and Inquirer.net employing their influencer management platforms, and AI-powered ‘Engage’ and ‘Explore’ services.

Singapore – Converge ICT Singapore, the international unit of Philippine fiber broadband and technology solutions provider Converge ICT Solutions is now fully geared up to provide service to enterprise customers outside the Philippines.

And with this continuous growth and expansion, Converge appoints technology sales strategist Victor Koh to lead Converse SG as its general manager and head of international and wholesale sales

In his new role, Koh will be responsible for managing the company’s operations while driving revenue growth by extending connectivity services and fiber optic capacity to international markets.

Koh carries with him over 30 years of expertise in the information technology and telecommunications industries. He has a proven track record of developing strategies for penetrating new markets.

“Converge has a good opportunity to develop a strong presence in the international carrier space. I’m excited to fulfill my role and support Converge to become the partner of choice for regional international carriers especially as the market becomes more competitive in broadband services,” Koh said.

Converge attained a Facilities-Based Operations (FBO) Licence in Singapore this year. The license allows the company to deploy telecommunications infrastructure and provide connectivity services to wholesale and enterprise customers in the region.

“We realize the opportunities presented by wholesale as a driver for our enterprise business, and Converge will continue to capitalize on that,” said Dennis Anthony Uy, CEO and co-founder of Converge

“Converge SG stands ready to enable telecommunication firms, carriers, cable companies, and other businesses in delivering intra-Asia and Trans-Pacific connectivity capabilities for their operations,” he added. 

Through its global subsidiary, Converge offers a variety of international connectivity services, such as Ethernet-International Private Line (E-IPL) service, Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) service, and submarine cable capacities, among others.

Grace Uy, president and co-founder of Converge, said, “Converge SG was built on the premise of serving the wholesale needs of international carriers, ISPs and telecommunication firms. We hope to finally capture various growth opportunities for the Wholesale business.”

The fiber broadband provider also continues to expand its networks as it participates in the Bifrost Cable System and the South-East Asia Hainan-Hong Kong Express Cable System (SEA-H2X), which are both set to be operational by next year. 

“With our investments in our international broadband network, we are ready to service and enable the growth of business clients in the region,” Converge SEVP and COO Jesus Romero shared. 

Converge now operates one of the largest international networks in the country with points of presence in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and the United States.

Singapore – Travel and lifestyle PR agencies GHC Asia and Accela Communications received a joint mandate to reposition the newly transformed Grand Hyatt Singapore as ‘A Grand Living Room and Wellness Haven in the Orchard Road area’. 

The dual-agency appointment is part of Grand Hyatt Singapore’s marketing strategy to elevate the hotel’s luxury positioning, rooted in legacy and exceptional service, that spans over five decades.

As the hotel enters phased completion in its multi-year transformational journey, it aims to secure its enviable position as Singapore’s long-established favorite place for locals and visitors alike to meet, convene, and celebrate for generations to come. 

“The appointment of GHC Asia and Accela Communications comes as we prepare to reveal Grand Hyatt Singapore’s reimagined spaces, which will be more theatrical and captivating than ever before,” said Charis Choi, regional vice president of sales and marketing Southeast Asia for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. 

Choi further reveals that “GHC Asia will lead the strategic communications and uplift the hotel’s luxury positioning, with a focus on partnership marketing and international media outreach, while Accela Communications will drive creative communications for the lifestyle concepts at the hotel’s signature restaurants, bars, and Damai Spa.”

GHC Asia has carried with it a 20-year expertise and international network in the travel, tourism, luxury lifestyle, and property sectors since its inception in Hong Kong in 1998. 

“We are delighted to have been selected to lead the relaunch PR campaign for such an illustrious and much-loved hotel as Grand Hyatt Singapore. Like many people, we have a lot of fond memories of special occasions within its familiar spaces over the years. The hotel’s rich history and international acclaim give us a strong backdrop from which to build new stories and forge meaningful partnerships, driving awareness across traditional media, digital platforms, and social touchpoints,” said Paul Hicks, founder and CEO of GHC Asia.

Meanwhile, Accela Communications will take the lead for consumer PR for Grand Hyatt Singapore’s reimagined F&B and wellness concepts and will develop guest-centric story angles for the hotel’s iconic lifestyle destinations. The agency is renowned for its integrated communications approach to generating creative and innovative campaigns across traditional, social media, and digital marketing. 

Erin Padilla, CEO and co-founder of Accela Communications, shared that “We’re thrilled to be part of this significant moment in Grand Hyatt Singapore’s history. As long-time champions of the property, we’re excited to have won the agency bid to lead creative PR activations for the relaunch. Grand Hyatt Singapore is loved by locals and international travellers for its world-class hospitality and innovative dining experiences. We can’t wait to bring back Singapore’s urban oasis right in the heart of the Orchard Road district.”

The iconic hotel welcomed its first guest in 1971 under the name Singapore Hyatt Hotel, which was subsequently renamed Hyatt Regency Singapore in 1979. In 1998, the hotel rebranded as Grand Hyatt Singapore after a major upgrade of its 677 guestrooms and suites, complemented by the introduction of world-class gourmet concepts.

“Within the World of Hyatt, Grand Hyatt hotels offer a front row seat to major gateway cities and resort destinations, bringing travel dreams to life by celebrating the iconic in small details and magnificent moments. Our guests would be able to expect service excellence and first-class accommodations within a multicultural backdrop of dramatic architecture, inventive restaurants, luxury spas, and sophisticated meeting spaces,” said Charis Choi.

“We’re very excited at how Grand Hyatt Singapore’s evolution makes it more than ever the perfect embodiment of the Grand Hyatt brand promise. We can’t wait to show the newly transformed hotel to our ambitious guests around the world seeking confidence and the new in familiar,” she further added.

New Zealand – Mango Aotearoa is experiencing growth, increasing in size. The recently announced changes include the appointment of seven producers and a talent manager.

The Mango experiential team receives support from group ECD Matty Burton and strategy director Jack Murphy. Additionally, they have an internal content creation team comprising digital, design, and technical domains.

Jessica McColl has been appointed as group business director at Mango.

Speaking of the appointment of McColl, Brianna Elder, managing partner and head of experiential at Mango Aotearoa, said, “Jessica brings with her an incredible wealth of experience, amazing creative ability and the best black book in the market.” 

She added, “We have an incredible team of producers that can make any idea a reality, and we’ve partnered that expertise with more creative firepower, pointy insights and content creation that significantly expands the reach of our physical executions into the digital space.”

“As our clients diversify their experiential needs, we’re delivering differently too. We’re seeing a shift away from product-led experiences to a dual need for product and brand in all executions. Tasting is no longer believing, there are layers of messaging and emotional connection in everything we do,” Elder said.