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Technology Featured APAC

Emplifi names Varun Sharma as vice president for JAPAC

Singapore – Customer experience platform Emplifi has appointed Varun Sharma, former head of sales and director of CX applications for SEA at Oracle, to assume the position of vice president for APAC and Japan.

Sharma has over 18 years of experience in CX, digital, and hi-tech industries. Aside from his previous role at Oracle, he has also worked with Adobe, where he led Strategic Industries for their Digital Experience business in the SEA region.

In his new role, Sharma will be leading Emplifi’s Japan and APAC business, with teams across Singapore, Emplifi’s JAPAC headquarters, and Sydney. He will also be the key in driving growth and developing customer and partner relationships across the region as CX becomes a top priority for brands.

Commenting on his new role, Sharma said he is thrilled to be joining the JAPAC team at this exciting time in Emplifi’s journey, as the pandemic really accelerated digitalization in the region, across Asia and ANZ, driving marketers to greatly increase their spend on social media advertising and on CX solutions overall. 

“Emplifi’s offering is well-positioned to help businesses across JAPAC to deliver more connected brand experiences across channels, meeting customer needs at every touchpoint of the buyer journey,” said Sharma.

Nikola Pantovic, Emplifi’s chief revenue officer, said, “We’re very excited to welcome Varun to the Emplifi family. His experience building and leading sales teams, combined with his understanding of the CX landscape and knowledge of the Asian market will be key, as we continue to strengthen our focus on the JAPAC region.”

The appointment comes after the recently announced merger of CX company Astute Solutions and digital marketing company Socialbakers. Both businesses rebranded as Emplifi, which will cater to a middle ground of services centered on CX strategies for digital marketing purposes.

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Technology Featured APAC

PubMatic appoints Vijay Anand Kunduri as new VP of OTT business for APAC

Singapore – Programmatic digital advertising company PubMatic has appointed Vijay Anand Kunduri, former managing director of video advertising platform Unruly for Asia, to assume the role of regional vice president of OTT business for APAC.

Kunduri brings more than two decades of experience working with leading broadcast, video-on-demand, and digital companies across APAC. In the last decade, he has helped to establish American and European ad tech companies in the region, including setting up video ad network Adotube in SEA, and spearheading Switzerland-based Viewster’s move into the VOD and OTT markets in the region. 

As part of his new role, Kunduri will be accelerating the growth of the PubMatic’s OTT and video business across the region. He will also be consulting with existing publishers, creating new relationships, and further establishing PubMatic as a preferred platform for media buyers and publishers.

The newly appointed VP noted that there has been explosive growth in the adoption of connected screens and consumption of streaming content in the region.

“Brands and OTT publishers have a tremendous opportunity to engage consumers and find new revenue with programmatic partners like PubMatic that offer the optimal combination of technology and premium advertiser and content partnerships,” said Kunduri.

Jason Barnes, PubMatic’s chief revenue officer for APAC, commented, “We are thrilled to welcome Vijay to the PubMatic team. We’ve been building an innovative OTT business in the APAC region, which we plan to further accelerate under his leadership.”

PubMatic and market measurement firm Nielsen in Australia has also recently announced a new data collaboration, which now makes Nielsen’s audience data available in PubMatic’s Audience Encore™ product, allowing advertisers to buy premium omnichannel inventory layered with quality data for precision targeting and better performance.

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Marketing Featured Global

Ad exchange Index Exchange names Wade Ware as new VP of technical solutions

New York, United States – Index Exchange, the global advertising marketplace where premium digital media companies transact ad impressions with accountability and in real-time, has just announced the appointment of Wade Ware, former vice president of professional services at digital advertising company MediaMath, to assume its first-of-its-kind global role of vice president of technical solutions.

The global role aims to emphasize Index’s commitment to strategically connect media owners and media buyers, as well as better aligning internal and technical teams for a customer-first approach.

As part of his new role, Ware will be leading a global team focused on delivering world-class technology solutions to Index’s customers, working closely with publishers, app developers, and CTV publishers and platforms, as well as agencies, and brand marketers to understand their business challenges and objectives. His new team will also be managing efforts to ensure fast, effective, and correct technical integrations, making it easier and more efficient for buyers to transact across all channels and formats.

Ware brings over 15 years of digital advertising experience. Aside from his previous role at MediaMath, he has also held technical services roles at Yahoo, AppNexus, and Conversant. 

Commenting on his appointment, Ware said that he is looking forward to joining the team and finding the most strategic approach for complex scenarios while working with the rest of the business to deliver on our customer’s needs.

“Index has consistently led the industry when it comes to their buy and sell-side relationships, and much of that can be attributed to their technical prowess,” said Ware.

Meanwhile, Jessica Breslav, Index’s chief customer officer, shared that as Index continues to accelerate growth on a global scale, the top priority remains to deliver best-in-class solutions to the customers and partners.

“Wade’s extensive industry experience will be absolutely critical in our continued quest to provide and share technical expertise, solutions consulting, and operational support with both media owners and media buyers,” said Breslav.

Index Exchange said that the announcement also signifies continued company growth and global expansion, coming nearly a year after the joining of Jessica Breslav as chief customer officer and Lori Goode as chief marketing officer.

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Technology Featured APAC

CX firm Genesys welcomes two new senior hires to boost APAC presence

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.

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Marketing Featured APAC

Ogilvy Consulting launches ‘Behavioral Science’ practice in Asia

Hong Kong – Ogilvy’s global growth and innovation arm, Ogilvy Consulting, has just launched a new practice called ‘Behavioral Science’ in Asia, which works to creatively apply the insights of contemporary behavioral science to diagnose, create, and validate ‘unseen opportunities’. 

The ‘Behavioral Science’ practice, which was first launched in North America in 2017, focuses on how audiences think, feel, and behave to improve marketing and communications effectiveness. By moving away from assumptions about consumers, the practice uses the latest insights from social psychology and behavioral economics, which in turn ensures creative solutions are touching the right nerves.

Following this endeavor, Ogilvy has also appointed Paolo Mercado as the new vice president of ‘Behavioral Science’. He will report directly to Jerry Smith, Ogilvy’s president of growth and innovation and Ogilvy Consulting’s CEO for Asia.

Mercado brings with him 12 years of experience working with Nestlé, where he headed up marketing and communications in China. He also led Nestlé’s Innovation in the Philippines. Throughout his career, Mercado has managed marketing projects in all major geographies of APAC, North America, and Latin America, as well as Europe, and the Middle East.

Besides his previous roles in Nestlé, Mercado is also the founding president of the Creative Economy Council of the Philippines, a think tank that advocates for the recognition of creative industries as the country’s next economic growth driver.

Mercado said that ‘Behavioral Science’ looks beyond demographics and what people say, to the inner workings of how people view the world and create their own identities. 

“Instead of targeting people, understanding them works better. And that’s at the heart of how ‘Behavioral Science’ helps us as marketers, by creating more effective ways to help brands achieve better outcomes,” said Mercado.

Meanwhile, Smith believes that ‘Behavioral Science’ is the key to unlocking that potential for organizational performance, product development, communications strategy, and service optimization.

“‘Behavioral Science’ will create a real edge for us in the marketplace, and Paolo’s diverse marketing and innovation experience, in addition to his background in psychology, makes him the perfect leader to help us transform the way we understand and move people on behalf of our clients,” said Smith.

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Marketing Featured APAC

Banking platform Backbase appoints new APAC VP for market expansion

Sydney, Australia – Backbase, a banking platform based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, has recently appointed Iman Ghodosi as the new regional vice president for Asia-Pacific, where one of his main responsibilities in the new role is to drive the company’s international expansion, product development, and APAC market growth.

Part of that market growth expansion is centered around small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as well as in the retail, corporate and wealth management banking sectors.

Ghodosi was previously the vice president and general manager for APAC at enterprise software company Zuora. He has also worked at organizations SAP, Oracle, and Netsuite. He holds an MBA from the University of Newcastle in Australia and a Master of e-business from the University of Southern Queensland.

Speaking about his appointment, he said that he is thrilled to join the company, which enables the disruptors of the banking industry and incumbents alike, as well as offering an end-to-end omni-channel banking platform from the ground up using open standards to support the digital transformation journey of any sized bank.

“With over 120 strong team members in the region, we will continue to ramp up investments in the next several months, hiring for key roles in ASEAN, ANZ, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, and India,” Ghodosi said.

He added, “In a platform era of Grab, Netflix and Spotify, people today want the same self-service experience with access to their personal financials, anytime, anywhere. Such consumer habits, compounded by the pandemic have disrupted the financial services industry and nowhere in the world do we see it more than in Asia Pacific. Backbase is primed to address this real need, helping banks to adopt and build modern, cloud-native digital banking platforms to keep pace with changing consumer demands, gain a 360-degree view into banking behaviours, and grow market share.”

Meanwhile, Jouk Pleiter, CEO and founder at Backbase, said, “As we continue to make inroads into the global financial services sector, I’m pleased to welcome Iman to our leadership team and look forward to his team capitalizing on the growth opportunities, while supporting banks in orchestrating seamless banking experiences for their customers and employees.”

Backbase has a team of almost 1,500 people spread across 22 countries and 15 offices, including offices in Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo.

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Technology Featured APAC

Sitecore appoints new VP for Asia in quest of CX, digital transformation expansion

Singapore – In its continuing expansion in Asia for its customer experience (CX) and digital transformation strategies, digital experience management software Sitecore has appointed cloud and IT executive Saurabh Pandit as its newest vice president for Asia.

The appointment of Pandit strengthens Sitecore’s presence in the market and is part of the company’s ambitions to grow aggressively in the wake of the US$1.2b funding secured in January. His new role will include India, Southeast Asia, and the Greater China region.

Prior to his new role, he was formerly regional director for JAPAC at marketing automation provider Resulticks, as well as head of IBM Watson Customer Engagement across the ASEAN region, and has held senior digital marketing alliance roles at Adobe. 

Before moving to Singapore, Pandit held cloud management roles at Adobe and Microsoft in India.

“Sitecore has a plan to provide business with marketing cloud technologies that transform the way they operate, and I am excited to be part of that. My expertise is in technical transformation and change and bringing the benefits of IT and digital to enterprise and mid-market customers,” Pandit said, regarding his appointment.

Pandit will report to Sitecore’s Asia-Pacific and Japan President Mark Troselj. He brings more than twenty years of business and executive management experience.

“Saurabh Pandit has the proven leadership and experience in driving digital transformation and customer experience innovation to support Sitecore’s growth in the Asian region. Companies across the region are looking for counsel and guidance in meeting the challenges of becoming a digital-first organization, and Saurabh delivers that experience,” Troselj commented.

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Marketing Featured APAC

Verizon Media names new vice president for ANZ and INSEA regions

Singapore – Media company Verizon Media has recently announced the promotion of Paul Sigaloff, former managing director of ANZ, to now assume the role of vice president of Verizon Media ANZ and INSEA.

Sigaloff brings with him over 10 years of experience in the media industry across the United Kingdom and Australia. He joined the company as the commercial director in 2014, and thereafter, worked as the managing director in 2018, where he led Verizon Media’s portfolio of dynamic digital media and technology brands including Yahoo across ANZ.

In his new role, Sigaloff will be responsible for leading the media company’s teams in Australia, New Zealand, and India, as well as the whole Southeast Asia region. The current sales team headed by Carol Tay, the senior director of sales of Verizon Media SEA, will now report to Sigaloff.

According to the company, the promotion is recognition for Sigaloff’s leadership during a record year of growth for Verizon Media ANZ. In 2020 Monthly Active Users (MAUs) across Yahoo’s editorial brands grew 11%, with double-digit revenue growth despite the headwinds in the wider market.

Furthermore, the company said that Sigaloff’s leadership philosophy and success in ANZ is grounded on the principles of media and advertising acting as forces for good in the world. This approach has leveraged product developments including greater privacy controls for users, and internally through a phenomenal corporate social responsibility program which saw the company donate more than AU$1M in time and value to charitable causes in 2020.

Commenting on his promotion, Sigaloff said that he is fortunate to be building on strong foundations in Singapore with the SEA region being a vibrant and important market for Verizon Media.

“My priority is to take the time to learn from the successful initiatives in those markets and take a strategic approach to apply the most appropriate lessons from our ANZ success story to create meaningful impact here in South East Asia,” said Sigaloff.

Rico Chan, the head of sales of Verizon Media APAC, commented that Sigaloff deserves the promotion coming from an inspirational leadership in ANZ.

“I look forward to working with him going forward to replicate this success across Southeast Asia and India. Southeast Asia is an important market for our business and this new structure enables us to take full advantage of key growth areas in 5G, e-commerce, and responsible business within these regions,” said Chan.

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Technology Featured South Asia

SMS service mTalkz appoints new VP for business development

New Delhi, India – Message and communications service mTalkz has appointed Abhishek Prakash as its new vice president for business development, where he will be responsible for revenue growth and solution sales of the company.

Prior to joining mTalkz, he has experience working as a project manager for IT services company HCL America, solutions leader for IT consultancy Wipro Technologies, and more recently as a client solution executive for management consulting company IBM.

“We are in an exciting time and Digital convergence is going through the next level of discovery. We are going to see some amazing cases and integrations being made possible with the help of the messaging products. A more sensible and rich way of customer engagement is going to emerge and we at mTalkz, look forward to becoming a unicorn in the next 3 years,” Prakash stated.

Meanwhile, Shelly Prakash, CEO of mTalkz, said, “Our industry is all about engaging with large corporate businesses and enabling new possibilities. Abhishek comes in as a reputed sales leader, and his experience in multiple industries like Banking, Retail, Petroleum, Insurance, Telecom, FMCG and Technology will help us to continue to grow at five times per year.”

Shelly-Prakash-mTalkz-CEO
Shelly Prakash, CEO of mTalkz

She added, “We are expanding our technology offerings and working on creating a rich platform to enable multiple integrations through messaging and AI-driven conversations. In the coming months, the market will see some interesting service products getting launched from our stable. We also look forward to launching the mTalkz brand in overseas markets shortly.”

Aside from its SMS services, mTalkz also provides high priority routes for critical OTP messaging, customer segmentation through link tracking, multilanguage upload, as well as split and schedule message campaigns, ergonomic interface and transparent reporting, and customer profiling/control.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Malaysia Digital Association unveils the marketing execs to lead org anew

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – The Malaysian Digital Association (MDA) has announced that it has tapped chief product officer of digital publisher REV Media Nicholas Sagau as its newest president, while managing director of media buying network PHD Malaysia Eileen Ooi is unveiled as the new vice president of the society. The appointments were announced at the association’s 11th annual general meeting.

The MDA is a society established in 2009 that is registered under Malaysian laws, aimed at growing the digital advertising landscape in the country. Its management consists of a president and 12 council members who each represent their media and publisher service.

Sagau, who had been a council member for two years, comments on the appointment, “I’m honored to be given the opportunity to lead the association. It has been a challenging year but we’ll work hard to broaden MDA’s capacity as a platform to address the pressing challenges of local digital publishers, media agencies and digital agencies through the ongoing pandemic as it significantly impacts businesses. We aim to achieve this by working closely as an ecosystem and more importantly, represent these three digital sectors’ agenda to the government.”

Meanwhile, Ooi who represents Omnicom Media Group, the parent firm of PHD said, “It’s an honor to take on the position of Vice President and what more together with an elite council team. I look forward to continuing to elevate MDA’s role in making the leap in Malaysia’s digital industry!”

The society’s annual meeting also saw the appointment of GroupM Malaysia’s Head of Supply and Product Development Aravind Menon as the council’s secretary and Sophia Toh, head of strategy and business development of SEA at Amazon’s Sizmek as Treasurer.