Hong Kong – Mandarin Oriental has announced the appointment of Alex Schellenberger as its new senior vice president for brand to elevate the hotel’s brand presence and to increase its desirability as a luxury hospitality brand. 

With over two decades in global luxury brand building, storytelling and brand experience roles, he brings invaluable insights and expertise to this newly created global role and will be joining the group leadership team.

His most recent role was being the global chief marketing officer of Accor, based in Paris. He began his journey with Procter & Gamble’s prestige division, where he elevated the Hugo Boss fragrance line. Subsequently, he held senior executive positions leading transformative marketing and communication initiatives to redefine and reposition beauty and luxury goods brands, at Coty and Swarovski.

Speaking on his new role, Schellenberger said, “I am proud to be joining this iconic brand that has captured the imagination and the loyalty of so many fans around the world. Mandarin Oriental is renowned for delighting its guests with legendary service, steeped in oriental heritage and we are uniquely placed to drive these exceptional experiences to new heights, further securing our position as a global leader in luxury hospitality.”

Meanwhile, Laurent Kleitman, group chief executive at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, expressed his enthusiasm about Alex’s appointment, commenting, “Alex is a talented and transformational brand builder. His global experience will be instrumental in realising our ambitious plans to put the brand and the guest at the heart of the organisation and deliver enriching and innovative experiences, stunning communications and innovative partnerships.”

He added, “Alex has an outstanding track record elevating luxury brands and I am delighted to have him join our team and steward Mandarin Oriental as we accelerate and elevate our presence in the most sought-after destinations around the world.”

Singapore – The LEGO Group has announced new key leadership changes in the Asia-Pacific region, namely Claus Kristensen as the new senior vice president and Uma Ramanan as the new head of marketing. It is also worth noting that these changes also come with Eric Maugein stepping down from his role as regional president for the company in the region.

In his new role, Kristensen will oversee the APAC region and its newly reshuffled business units, aligned to growth priorities and its evolving landscape. His appointment took effect on January 1 this year, and he will report to Colette Burke, chief commercial officer at The LEGO Group and be part of the markets and channels leadership team. 

He joined the company in 2012 as the head of executive strategy and agenda and in 2016, moved to Sydney to become vice president and general manager of the Australia New Zealand Business Unit (BU). Under his leadership, the ANZ BU grew significantly and manifested itself as the biggest BU in APAC. 

In 2021, he stepped into his current role as vice president of APAC marketing and B2B e-commerce. Over the past two years, he has established the regional B2B e-commerce for The LEGO Group.

Speaking on his new role, Kristensen said, “I am honoured to have been appointed to lead the LEGO Group in Asia-Pacific, continuing the legacy of success established by Eric. The LEGO Group is such a storied company and has come a long way over the past 91 years – from a small carpenter’s workshop to a modern, global enterprise that is now one of the world’s largest manufacturers of toys.”

He added, “I am so proud to be part of this company and will be focused on working with the team to deliver a step-up in business performance as we empower more kids and adults around Asia-Pacific to unlock the power of creative play.”

Meanwhile, Ramanan will be responsible for accelerating the LEGO Group’s marketing strategy in the region. With over nine years of experience in the company, Uma brings a perfect blend of strategic vision and boundless imagination to the world of bricks.

She was promoted from her previous role as the APAC brand director in December 2023. Along with her team of brand managers, she led the charge to deliver APAC’s growth targets through integrated marketing and along the way inspiring millions of kids and adults in learning through play with LEGO bricks. 

Uma first began her LEGO journey in the UK/Ireland market as senior brand manager, before working her way up to become brand director and subsequently, global brand director for Asia, based in China.

The new leadership changes also come in line with the company implementing a new organisational structure effective from 1 January 2024 by introducing two new business units – India & Emerging Asia (IEA), and Singapore, Malaysia and Travel Retail (SMTR). 

“This change deepens our commitment to these markets and sets us up to accelerate growth by unlocking new possibilities with dedicated resources, synergies in tackling similar challenges, and continuous innovation to enhance our ongoing relationships with our partners. The change also signifies our continued commitment to drive growth in Asia-Pacific,” Kristensen also added.

These announcements come off the back of the company’s latest expansion in Travel Retail with its two new LEGO Airport Stores (LAS) at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3 and Terminal 4. The company also recently invested more than US$1b with the opening of its sixth global factory and its first carbon-neutral facility in Binh Duong Province in Vietnam. 

India – TBWA\Media Arts Lab, the agency’s bespoke global creative agency for Apple, has promoted Jonathan George to the role of senior vice president for creative in India, effective immediately.

In his new role, George will oversee the development and execution of all creative work for the region. Additionally, he will play an active role in aligning the region’s business objectives and strategic planning.

Michaela Futcher, Media Arts Lab’s Head of Strategy and Managing Director for APAC, said, “Jonathan has proved himself an exceptional creative leader and partner to clients and team.”

She also added, “He continues to level up expectations on work that can be made out of the region in craft and ideation. I am personally excited to have a partner in India of Jonathan’s calibre and terribly excited to think about what we’ll create next.” 

Meanwhile, Brent Anderson, global chief creative officer at TBWA\Media Arts Lab, commented, “Jonathan is a driven, pragmatic, and passionate leader spearheading culture-rippling creative for India and across the APAC region. He holds high expectations for the work and leads his team remarkably to stretch and reach for that Apple standard.”

He added, “Jonathan has impeccable taste and instincts, and he translates that into the initiatives he leads. He has the ambition and ability to overcome any challenges to harness cultural impact and define what the Apple brand is and will be in the Indian market. I am excited to see what will emerge from his continued creative leadership.”

Speaking on his new role, George said, “Simple ideas, executed impeccably; Few have managed to make this mantra work as purely and powerfully as Media Arts Lab,” and “The result has consistently been culture-defining work that sets the bar for creative excellence. I couldn’t be more excited to partner with some of the most talented folks in the industry and carry this philosophy forward into the work that we do in India.”

Singapore – Total experience (TX) automation platform yellow.ai has appointed former Google Cloud’s Surbhi Agarwal as its senior vice president of global marketing, where she will be managing all of the marketing initiatives for Yellow.ai across geographies to grow business in the US, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Pacific regions.

Based out of the San Francisco bay area, she will be actively expanding the company’s global footprint by building a highly impactful go-to-market team that would strengthen yellow.ai’s position in the market.

During her stint at Google Cloud, she led product and solution marketing for data analytics and cloud AI portfolio, including ‘Contact Center AI’. She comes with over two decades of leadership across product life cycle management, sales enablement, product marketing and product led growth in early-stage start-ups and large enterprises. 

Agarwal has also run product management and corporate strategy at Intel Corporation and McAfee.

Speaking on her appointment, Surbhi said, “Yellow.ai is at a pivotal point of entering new geographies with its proven product capabilities, making this a very exciting time to join the executive team. With yellow.ai’s driven culture, differentiated offerings, leadership and market potential, I believe the company is strongly positioned to define and lead the Conversational AI space. I look forward to building the best-in-class marketing organization at yellow.ai to increase our market share and achieve new heights.”

Meanwhile, Raghu Ravinutala, CEO and co-founder, Yellow.ai, said, “We are thrilled to bring Surbhi onboard at Yellow.ai as part of our executive team. This is a crucial appointment for us, at a time when we are sharpening our global strategy as a total experience (TX) solutions provider.”

He added, “As we scale our operations and expand our capabilities, Surbhi’s leadership will augment our efforts towards defining our brand and driving revenue. We look forward to her leadership and believe her experiences with global industry leaders will be invaluable as we grow across markets.”

California, USA – Global user retention platform CleverTap has appointed Honey Bajaj as its newest senior vice president and global chief of consumer experience. Through her new roles, Bajaj will pioneer CleverTap’s extensive program to help companies reimagine customer experience.

Prior to joining CleverTap, Bajaj has built an innovation pipeline for several Fortune 500 companies, including Boston Consulting Group Digital Ventures, Disney, Microsoft Research, MIT Media Lab and Tata Group. She has also have extensive experience as an innovation leader and a social entrepreneur in India and the United States.

Speaking about her appointment, Bajaj said, “I have always focused on designing for impact and inventing for scale by contextualising tech for the consumers. The truth is, no matter what we think we’re doing, we are all in the customer-experience business. Before you can accomplish it, you need to envision it. The digital behaviour and expectations of customers is evolving faster than most industries are able to deliver. I am looking forward to my journey with CleverTap to embed human-centred principles and design thinking into a series of initiatives and programs.”

She added, “These efforts will allow digital-first companies to co-create and simulate digital journeys that will fuel growth through superior customer experience and will enable CleverTap’s customers to realise their consumer journeys in a more seamless and contextual manner as the lines of the digital and omnichannel world are no longer separated.”

Meanwhile, Vikrant Chowdhary, chief growth officer at CleverTap, commented, “As we scale CleverTap into a global category creator for ‘Retention Cloud’, we realise that our customers are eager to co-create experiences that will fuel growth and the future of their own digital businesses. For this reason, we are expanding our leadership team with a new appointment that benefits the most important stakeholder: our customers’ customers.”

He added, “From fintech to ecommerce, and from on-demand super apps to media and streaming services, companies need the inspiration and tangible examples of the ‘Art of Possible’ to unleash human-centred design thinking, unlock new perspectives and drive powerful momentum and positive results for all stakeholders.”

Most recently, CleverTap has welcomed Anand Venkatraman as its newest chief operating officer.

Singapore — GWI, an audience insights company, announced the appointment of Aditi Kohli as senior vice president for APAC as it plans to further its growth in the region. The company is set to jumpstart its ambitious growth plans after it successfully secured US$180m in Series B funding in February 2022.

Kohli will be based in Singapore and she is tasked to drive the company’s growth, working with enterprise partners to help them gain a deeper understanding of local consumers. The investments are being utilised to further advance GWI’s software-as-a-service platform, as well as hire new talent to support global expansion.

Prior to joining GWI, Kohli was managing director of Foursquare for Asia. Her other ventures include roles in Near, The Walt Disney Company, and MTV Asia.

Speaking about her appointment, Kohli said, “I am honoured to join GWI as we continue to revolutionise insights on digital consumers worldwide through technology. We’re seeking to bolster the APAC team, and looking to hire talented professionals (commercial sales and customer success) with a passion for market intelligence and innovation who can support the rapid expansion of our business.”

Tom Smith, CEO and founder of GWI, said, “We are deeply committed to Asia-Pacific. The size and breadth of the region mean it can be hard for companies to navigate and be able to make proper data-driven decisions. GWI is able to provide them with deep insights and allow them to create the right strategy. When we launched our new office in Singapore we knew that we would need to find the right person to lead this exciting growth opportunity and Aditi is the perfect person for this. Her breadth of experience will be instrumental in growing our presence, talent and customer base. We’re very excited for the future of GWI in APAC.”

Singapore – Global cross-border payments platform Thunes has announced the appointment of new senior vice presidents in the Asia-Pacific, namely Biren Zandani, SVP for Asia Pacific and Daphne Huang, SVP for Greater China.

Zandani, who is based in Singapore, is a recognized payments expert with over 20 years of experience in financial services, particularly B2B, B2P, and P2P payments. Prior to joining Thunes, he was the head of APAC at Transfast, a Mastercard company, where he was in charge of generating revenue and establishing robust network partnerships. He was also the head of business development and network management for SEA and ANZ at Earthport, now Visa Direct.

Meanwhile, Huang, based in Beijing, brings in over two decades of sales, business development, banking, and fintech experience. She was previously the head of China for SWIFT, where she spearheaded its strategic and business development initiatives.

In addition to the two new appointments, Thunes has also appointed other SVPs in other regions, namely Jenna Wyer, SVP for the Americas and Simon Nelson, SVP for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Speaking about the new senior hires, Aik Boon Tan, chief commercial officer at Thunes, said, “We have been ramping up our efforts to piece together a best-in-class team and solidify our leadership globally. The company is now in a position to take on new challenges with an expanded leadership team.”

He added, “We have added four highly talented regional senior vice presidents (SVPs) to complement the strong leadership we already have in Africa and Europe, who together will accelerate our growth of Thunes across the different regions where we operate. And I’m glad to highlight that half of our global SVPs now are women, as diversity in the workplace can only strengthen us as a company.”

Manila, Philippines – Live-streaming platform kumu in the Philippines has appointed Anand Roy, former regional director of music and live entertainment for SEA at Disney, as its new senior vice president for strategy and international.

Roy brings with him more than 17 years of experience from Disney and has mainly worked with international markets. 

Roy shared that he first heard about the platform from Open Space Ventures, one of the company’s investors, and at that time, was feeling quite unhappy with the state of social media generally, but with Kumu, he viewed the business as brimming with positivity, optimism, and community. 

Roy believes in the field of entertainment and technology,and that there has never been a better time to be in the international marketplace than today. 

“In many ways, this should have been what social media is about—bringing out the best of humanity, and not what we are seeing right now. Social media should not be dividing and polarising society. The basic, most vital ingredients are already in place here at kumu,” said Roy.

He added, “What I’m hoping to add to the team is that pursuit of excellence, and an ambition to be the best in the world in what we’re doing. That’s the recipe for global success.”

Rexy Dorado, kumu’s president and co-founder, commented, “We’ve always looked up to Disney as a reference for their work in media, entertainment, and the business of inspiring love and imagination. We’re excited for Anand to tap into his experience leading Disney’s music and content efforts in the region in pursuit of our growing ambitions.”

Singapore – The global customer experience orchestration company, Genesys, has just announced two new senior appointments, to reaffirm the importance of APAC as a growth market for the company. 

The key senior hires are Assaf Tarnopolsky, the new senior vice president and general manager for APAC, and Stephen Hamill, the new vice president for ASEAN and South Asia.

Tarnopolsky will be driving cloud business momentum in APAC, which experienced strong growth in the fiscal year 2021. He brings with him more than 25 years of leadership experience to the role, including most recently as director of marketing solutions for SEA, North Asia, and Japan at LinkedIn, where he drove significant growth for the platform’s advertising business in Asia. Tarnopolsky’s past media and technology career highlights also include serving as the CEO of tech-news start-up Tecca.com, the vice president at Sony Pictures, and director of international business development at mobile-media pioneer MobiTV.

Meanwhile, Hamill will be responsible for business strategy and sales with a focus on accelerating the growth of Genesys in ASEAN and South Asia. He possesses more than two decades of expertise, having held senior leadership roles in APAC with technology firms such as Oracle and Adobe.

Commenting on his appointment, Tarnopolsky said that he looks forwards to being a part of Genesys at a pivotal point in its journey to assist businesses in their digital transformation journey.

Meanwhile, Hamill commented, “I am thrilled to be driving the next chapter of growth for Genesys and look forward to deepening our presence across the region.”

ML Maco, Genesys’ executive vice president for global sales and field operations, shared that customer experience has become a strategic differentiator as companies adopt cloud and digital technologies to meet customers’ evolving expectations, especially post-pandemic. 

“I am confident with Genesys, they have the platform to transform customer interaction into an empathetic customer experience. The leadership of Assaf and Stephen will help APAC businesses realize the value of the vision we call ‘Experience as a Service’,” said Maco.

The appointments come after Gwilym Funnell’s elevation from Genesys’ head of Asia Pacific to global head of strategic growth, which is a newly created global role responsible for identifying new opportunities for the company to expand across new market segments and establish strategic partnerships.

New York, USA – To lead and accelerate the company’s growth in the Asia Pacific region, global conversational AI company LivePerson has recently appointed former Adobe executive Ian Kinsella as the company’s senior vice president for APAC.

Through his newly-found role, Kinsella will oversee LivePerson’s sales and customer success organization in APAC, expanding the company’s go-to-market strategy in the region as well as its team of sales and customer success experts. LivePerson partners with many of the region’s top brands-including mobile operators, insurers, banking and financial services institutions, retailers, and more-to provide AI-powered marketing, sales, and care experiences to their customers.

Prior to joining LivePerson, he led Adobe’s Digital Experience business across APAC, with responsibility for commerce and customer journey management solutions. Kinsella came to Adobe through its acquisition of the e-commerce platform Magento, where he led the APAC business. Previously, he served as vice president at SAP, leading the customer experience & commerce business in APAC and managing a portfolio of sales, service, marketing, and e-commerce solutions.

Kinsella also spent more than a decade as an entrepreneur, bootstrapping start-ups in Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. He has lived in the region for over 20 years and currently resides in Sydney, Australia.

“I’m thrilled to join LivePerson at this critical moment. Now that APAC consumers use mobile devices as their primary tool to connect with brands, we see a massive opportunity to help more of the region’s top brands offer and scale AI-powered conversations on their preferred channels, from WeChat to LINE, WhatsApp, and in-app messaging,” said Kinsella, regarding his appointment.

Meanwhile, Rob LoCascio, founder and CEO of LivePerson, commented, “With billions of mobile users, the Asia-Pacific region offers incredible opportunities for LivePerson. Bringing Ian on board catalyzes our APAC operation to partner with even more of the region’s signature brands to deliver our global vision for conversational AI’s transformation of commerce and care. I’m excited to welcome him to our executive team.”