Digerati APAC: The top people in the APAC digital industry
The Digerati Asia Pacific is The Drum’s first annual celebration of people in the industry that are going out of their way to push the agenda forward for digital in the region. This year we invited readers to nominate the individuals they admired within the categories of Agencies, Brands, Media Owners and Adtech & Martech, and provide testimonials explaining why their peer deserved a place on our list. Then, our editorial team pored over their submissions to whittle the hundreds of nominations down to our final 50 Digerati. The Digerati represents our commitment to recognising the businesses, work and people excelling in the industry today and celebrate the positive work being done to push innovation.
Media and Platforms
APAC Head of Programmatic & Data
Robins began his career as a consultant with Accenture, before entering the advertising industry with Carat and then OMD, where he rose to become head of interactive (Digital) at the agency and built a hybrid trading desk model. He has become one of the most sought-after programmatic voice after crossing over to the publisher-side to join Spotify as head of programmatic and data for Oceania. He was one of the judges for The Drum’s Digital Trading Awards APAC 2017.
The scientist in charge in of Baidu’s artificial intelligence (AI) division, Haifeng Wang is at the forefront of one of the most exciting tech innovations in the industry. As Baidu transforms from a search company into an AI-first business, Wang is responsible for leading edge research and product development including machine learning, big data, speech technology and augmented reality. A highly respected scientist and published academic, Wang has received the National Scientific Innovation and Advancement Award and the Second Prize of National Science and Technology Progress Award. He has also served as president of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL), and vice president of Chinese Institute of Electronics and the CyberSecurity Association of China. One of the most senior and important scientists in AI research, Haifeng is at the centre of digital innovation.
Managing Director, Agency Business,Asia Pacific
Flint has spent ten years in Asia, after starting in the UK, and is the classic example of a ‘triple crown’ who has worked on agency, client and media, having BA, Singapore Airlines, OgilvyOne and now Google on her impressive CV. Flint also embodies a passionate business leader, being known not only for her day job but a committed string of industry and board positions. Flint finds herself on the board of the IAB, National University Singapore - Institute Systems Science and Board Member, Singapore Tourism Board, as well as leading the juries of awards, such as Effies.
Director and Chief Technology Officer
Hirokawa is a board member of Cyber Communications Inc, or CCI, which specialises in interactive marketing on smart devices and online media. As chief technology officer, he is leading innovation within the business. Much like other markets around the globe, Japan’s industry is focused on issues around brand safety and issues around fraud. Hirokawa is a first mover in the APAC market in that CCI partnered with the IAB Tech Lab on a measurement compliance programme, driving forward an important new initiative in the region.
Chief Sales and Marketing Officer
One of Australia’s most respected sales executives, MCN’s chief sales and marketing officer Mark Frain has been a driving force behind the transformation of Australia’s television advertising model and a leading voice in the platform’s digital revolution. Frain is the man behind MCN’s market leading trading platform LandMark, which has been hailed as the world’s first integrated programmatic private marketplace for TV. With a background in both agency and media companies, Frain joined MCN in 2005 where he has driven the development of multi-skilled sales teams. Frain has built a solid reputation for his views on automation and programmatic advertising.
Chief Commercial and Digital Officer
Singh joined Mediacorp in 2017 as chief commercial and digital officer, a role specially created for him to spearhead Singapore’s largest broadcaster digital transformation journey. He has spent a majority of his career working with digital and technology giants like IBM, Apple, Google and Twitter, where he held the role of managing director for Southeast Asia. Since joining Mediacorp, he has changed the way the traditional ways the company has done business by introducing a programmatic advertising exchange with Mediacorp’s main competitor Singapore Press Holdings and created an in-house influencer agency. Singh is also the founding member of InCrisisRelief, which is a citizen-led disaster relief technology initiative.
Head, Sales Strategy & Operations
Tan has spent her entire career at Singapore Press Holdings, publisher of the The Straits Times, Singapore’s only broadsheet newspaper. She fronted advertising print sales for the media company for 13 years, before crossing over to digital. As the current head of sales strategy and operations, Tan oversees the pre and post advertising sales function for four media platforms (print, digital, radio and outdoor) at SPH, which has a revenue base in excess of $400 million and is in charge of a team of 200 digital specialists. She is also a member of IAB Singapore, where she has held the roles of board member, treasurer and vice chair. Tan also played a huge role in starting a joint programmatic exchange with SPH’s fierce rivals, Mediacorp, to take on the digital duopoly.
Seng Yee Lau
Senior Executive Vice President, Chairman
Leading the advertising business at Tencent, SY Lau is one of the most prominent digital leaders in China but as Tencent and its platforms gain influence round the world, so does his too. This is nothing new, however as Lau was named Media Person of the Year at Cannes Lions back in 2015. The accolade came almost 10 years after he left his previous role at Publicis, where he was CEO and managing partner, while he’s also held roles at BBDO and Y&R.
As a founding member and chief marketing officer of iQIYI, Vivian Wang has been an integral driver behind China’s leading online streaming platform. A widely respected leader in the online-streaming advertising business, Wang’s has helped attract advertisers to iQIYI and convinced them to shift their budgets from TV to the video-streaming platform. She is credited with creating a number of iQIYI’s innovative advertising models including the Search-Watch-Share and Marketing Partners models, as well as introducing the idea of "advertising as content, content as advertising”. Under her leadership, the Tencent-owned video platform was the first to achieve a RMB500m title sponsorship of a single internet show. Regarded as a visionary in her field and a regular inclusion in lists of influential and powerful people, Wang is a leading light in China’s digital industry.
CEO & Co-founder
While he was still studying in Harvard Business School for a Master of Business Administration, Tan worked on a mobile taxi application which came in second for Harvard Business Plan Contest 2011. A year after he graduated, he left his family’s car import business to launch Grab. Since then, under his leadership, which includes securing $2 billion from Chinese counterpart Didi Chuxing and SoftBank Capital, Grab has prevented Uber from gaining a foothold in Southeast Asia for the past five years. A passionate advocate of data, engineering and technology, Tan has also resisted launching a food delivery service like many other ride-hailing services and instead, lead Grab to invest in mobile payments, in line with Singapore’s ambitions to become a cashless nation.
Performance Marketing Manager
Kalbag is Uber’s performance marketing manager for APAC, taking a specific look at social. According to Kalbag, she is obsessed with marrying marketing, data science and rapid experimentation to impact business metrics. She has also been on the Skyscanner APAC growth marketing team and was named a young promising leader by Twitter. When not busy in her day job, she runs a successful marketing industry blog, Mooketing.com, which attracts visitors from over 95 markets.
Guerpillon’s transition into brand-side follows roles at agencies and tech businesses, showing her rounded career and knowledge of start-ups. Such experience is why she’s well placed to be the ambassador for start-ups and innovation within Unilever in the region, launching and growing Unilever’s start-up accelerator Foundry and its co-working space Level3. A regular speaker across the world, she’s become one of the most high profile advocates of corporate innovation and the importance of inspiring entrepreneurial spirit within companies.
Undeterred by Southeast Asia’s logistical challenge for e-commerce, Debonneuil and his team created one of the most prominent local brands and paved the way for what is now one of the most competitive and exciting e-commerce markets in the world. Armed with a sizeable investment from Alibaba, Lazada is now continuing to invest in e-commerce innovation, as well as ensure that it is a valuable platform for brands to create direct to consumer propositions.
As the chief marketing officer of the world’s largest retailer, Chris Tung commands a huge amount of influence within China, APAC and around the globe. Tung’s wide-reaching role means he is increasingly in the spotlight and in demand as the ecommerce giant continues to diversify and expand its services for consumers and advertisers alike. As the leading marketing voice for one of the world’s most innovative companies Tung’s work is having a significant impact on the industry, whether it is Alibaba’s wildly successful Singles Day extravaganza, the company’s global Olympics sponsorship or the UniMarketing tool for brands – when he speaks, people listen. His background of senior marketing roles for PepsiCo China and Procter & Gamble, senior agency roles, including CEO of VML China and start-up experience at Gigamedia has positioned Tung perfectly for his current role at one of the world’s most exciting companies.
Head of Digital for ASEAN Pacific
As head of digital for ASEAN at Philips, Chum has an overall responsibility for digital strategy creation and delivery. Elaine is also seen as brand custodian of the Philips digital spaces and a change driver of the digital domain. Her expanded responsibility includes coaching of digital members of digital members to expand her digital expertise to Philip’s Lighting and Health Care. Having lived and worked in Australia, China, Singapore, Netherlands and Korea, Elaine brings about her experiences and insights from the East and West, bringing in an international and culture perspective. She was awarded GOLD by Philips for Outstanding Digital Activation for 2015 in a local market.
With a new Starbucks opening every 15 hours in China, Emily Chang is in charge of building engagement for the brand in its most important market. Chang is also helping to steer the brand through its rapid digital evolution as it adopts new technology such as AI and mobile payment systems. Joining Starbucks in mid-2017, Chang was a key driver behind the launch of Starbuck’s largest interactive store experience, the Reserve Roastery in Shanghai, which is powered by Alibaba technology. She is a highly respected marketer and innovator, whose previous roles include leading retail marketing for Asia at Apple, chief commercial officer for Intercontinental Hotels Group, and 11 years at Procter & Gamble in Asia and the US.
Senior Director, Global eCommerce
Mondelez senior director of global e-commerce Ganesh Kashyap is a recognised thought-leader in digital brand building and e-commerce in Asia. A regular speaker at conferences around the globe as well as media appearances on the BBC, CNBC and Economic Times, Kashyap has built a strong reputation for leadership in the digital industry. As the driving force behind the brand’s strategic partnerships with the world’s leading e-commerce platforms including Alibaba, Amazon, JD.com and Lazada, Kashyap is at the centre of some of the most dynamic and exciting marketplaces. In his current role, he’s driving the global ecommerce strategy for one of the world’s largest snack companies, with a mission to create a $1bn online snacks business by 2020.
Director, Digital Marketing & Media, Asia Pacific and Japan
Wadia leads and executes Intel’s digital transformation vision for the APJ region, by building strategy and execution plans that span across people, process and technology. He is also the current chair of the Asia Pacific ‘chief digital officer’ forum organized by WFA. According to his Twitter Bio, he is passionate about stories, is an egalitarian and you can call him Jam.
Digital & Analytics Director, Asia Pacific
Chu started out as a Strategy Manager for North Asia Region at Kimberly Clark and now is the digital and analytics director. A graduate of the London Imperial College, she heralded the digital transformation for the Huggies brand across Asia Pacific. Her main focus now is to expand and strengthen the presence of Kimberly brands across APAC.
Director – Global Media & Content COE
Maneesha boasts 17 years of rich and varied experience in consumer engagement having worked with brands like Nokia, Tata Docomo, Coca Cola, L'Oreal, SC Johnson, Mahindra Auto and Renault, Blue Star and Whirlpool. She was the head of media for Nokia India where she activated and negotiated across big media platforms like music and cricket. She was awarded the Region President's Award (IMEA region) for her work with Nokia. She then joined PepsiCo where she is now director of media and content, digital marketing and consumer engagement in India, she is a director in the Global Media Centre for Excellence. She is a mother of two kids and loves to read and travel.
As managing director of Expedia’s Australian and New Zealand operations, Michael Pearson is an expert in leveraging data and technology to create customer-focused businesses. After beginning his career in project and account management, Pearson moved into strategy roles with evvivo, C4 Communications and Macquarie Bank. He joined Expedia in 2010, initially as director of product and ecommerce and then senior director of ecommerce, before he was promoted to managing director in 2016. Pearson has been something of a data evangelist and has led the business’ embrace of big data, programmatic and data-driven marketing as well as championing new tech innovations and solutions.
Chief Marketing Officer
As the chief marketing officer of Go-Jek, Jakubowski leads the consumer marketing initiatives for the six-year-old Indonesian transport startup that provides on-demand services like two and four wheeled transport, food delivery and lifestyle (massage, beauty, cleaning and ticketing). Since joining Go-Jek in 2016, he has helped the company create Indonesia's first online transportation system and introduced bookings through Line. Before Go-Jek, Jakubowski spent three years with Leo Burnett, before joining VML as its head of digital in Indonesia. He has a special relationship with the archipelago, having spent his teenage years at boarding school in Indonesia.
Director, Mass and Brand Marketing
Ravi Desai has handled brands across cigarettes, paper and foods categories. As cluster head of marketing for ITC, he successfully conceptualised and launched the brand Bingo! ITC Food's foray into the Impulse Snacks market in India. An Indian Institute of Management (IIM) graduate, he was named by Amazon as its first chief marketing officer in India in 2016. He was instrumental in implementing cultural insights in order to localize campaigns for Amazon like Aur dikhao” (Show more) and “Apni dukaan” (My store) campaigns. According to his LinkedIn profile, he is just working hard, having fun and making history at Amazon.
Global Head Digital & Retail Marketing
Ahmed has developed a reputation for being an innovative brand marketer, having managed high profile digital investments at Kraft, Starbucks and MasterCard. At the latter he led the development of a data-led Digital and e-commerce Engine which helped link content to sales for the business. Now at Standard Chartered, he is taking his passion of retail and digital to a new global level. Outside his day job Ahmed is also regularly involved in pushing the digital agenda by being a part of industry trade bodies, speaking at events and writing white papers.
Mailman is one of the region’s fastest growing sports marketing and innovation groups with investments across technology, media and content. Since acquiring the company in 2007, Collins has transformed the business into a sporting powerhouse, installing himself as a leading influencer in the digital industry in the process. Collins has been honoured as a finalist for entrepreneurial awards such as Anthill Australia’s ‘Top Entrepreneurs Under 30’, Australia-China Westpac Business Awards and Telstra Australian New Media Awards. He’s a board member for the Entrepreneurs Organisation, an honorary adviser to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and a regular contributor to Fast Company and Medium. In his role as CEO for Mailman, he counts some of the world’s largest sports brands as clients including Manchester United, AC Milan and Kobe Bryant, a sign of how far his influence stretches.
A long-time WPP leader, Schlickum left his role leading Xaxis in Europe, a business he co-founded in the region, to take on the CEO role at Wunderman for APAC, running 18 offices across the region. Outside of his role, he is an avid industry writer, speaker and has spent time as a guest lecturer for the London Business School MBA and Executive Education programmes.
Jacco Ter Schegget
CEO, South East Asia
Over the 13 years he spent at Omnicom, the major highlight of ter Schegget’s career was leading DDB and Tribal Amsterdam to become the first agency to win a Cannes Film Grand Prix in his role as president and co-CEO. He then moved to Asia to take on the role of president at OgilvyOne Worldwide, before taking on the role of CEO for Southeast Asia at J.Walter Thompson. He has sat on the juries of multiple awards and is a sought-after speaker in China and Europe.
Executive Creative Director
Borgström has an incredibly diverse background, as a speaker of five languages, his career has also spanned multiple markets, including creative director/director of innovation at Goodby Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, creative director at Wieden+Kennedy, Amsterdam, creative director and partner at DoubleYou, Barcelona. After landing in Singapore not long ago, he said he wanted to make the agency one of the best in the world. Not long after the agency became one of the most awarded at Cannes Lions 2017.
CEO, Asia Pacific
Catalano has taken up the role of leading APAC for iProspect after having spent six years across regional roles at Google, most recently leading the agency business in Asia Pacific. Catalano has, across her career, spanned roles in client-side, agency and media owner, as well as spending time working in Europe. Outside of an impressive CV, Catalano is currently president of the Singapore chapter of the Female Founders organisation and is a fierce champion of diversity and businesses impacting society positively.
SVP, Managing Director
As a passionate digital marketer, Guha serves as the senior vice president and managing director of Central Asia at Essence, a WPP-owned media agency. He was promoted twice in 2017, first to managing director of Singapore and then to his current role after delivering over 100% year-on-year growth for the agency three years in a row. Guha also invests and sits on the board of several technology-driven startups. He likes to conduct half an hour team meetings with his team while walking around a park or around the office. A lifelong learner, he is leading the agency while studying for global executive MBA at INSEAD in Singapore.
Halliday moved to Singapore five years ago after spending a long career building an expertise in mobile marketing in Europe. Across both Europe and Asia, he is well known and respected as a mobile expert. Rising the ranks at Omnicom Media Group, a recent promotion now sees Halliday leading the performance business as CEO, performance for Asia Pacific.
After honing her skills at the biggest agency networks in the world like WPP, Omnicom and Publicis, Law left Ogilvy to start social influencer marketing agency Goodstuph after her father was diagnosed with brain tumour, as the incident made her reconsider her life philosophy. Proclaiming herself as ‘boss lady’, Law is not afraid to speak her mind and has led the agency to produce work for the likes of Nike and Changi Airport, which has received praise from around the world. Goodstuph was also named one of the 20 most innovative agencies in Singapore by The Drum in 2016.
Patrick De Moustier
Moustier’s 31-year career has seen him lead strategy, product, service development and digital transformation in industries like music, video-games, payment and education. Now, as the managing director for Accenture Digital, he is at the forefront of the consultancy’s bid to challenge traditional agencies in the ASEAN region by using Accenture’s new Digital Hub in Singapore to help clients respond to digital disruption and accelerate innovation across industries. An engineer by training, Moustier is also the Start-Up Champion at Singapore Management University Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE), where he is working with seed-funded start-ups on progressing and maturing their businesses.
Founder & CEO
Dingra started his entrepreneurial journey at the age of 20 with his first start-up jobs4freshers.com, which he failed at miserably (his words on LinkedIn). After that he founded WAT Consult which in 11 years became one of the most awarded and largest digital agencies in India. WAT Consult won the Red Herring Asia 100 award in the event held at Hong Kong. This award is given to the fastest growing IT companies.
Co-Founder & Right Brain
With a background in film making as well as a stint in Channel [V], Rohit co-founded the Glitch, one of the largest creative digital agencies in India. The Glitch was recently acquired by GroupM, marking a significant boost of confidence in the agency. Rohit has spoken at many key events, such as TEDx, Social Media Week and PromaxBDA India Masterclass, Mumbai. He was also among the esteemed panel of jury for the PromaxBDA India awards 2017.
Chief Digital Officer APAC and MENA
An investment banker-turned advertiser, Sanga joined GroupM in India before moving to Singapore to take on the role of head of search marketing and contextual advertising. He then moved over to Mindshare, where he rose to become its chief digital officer for Asia Pacific, Middle East and North Africa. In his role, Sanchit consults the world’s top marketers on establishing their digital businesses for future ready business models as his passion is using digital data streams and tracking consumers’ trails, to inform marketing strategies. He was also appointed the co-chair of IAB Singapore’s management board committee in 2017, where he was tasked with driving digital investments forward in investment, commitment and innovation in APAC.
Partner, Asia Pacific Lead
As someone who has the rare experience of working in consultancies, agencies and technology firms, it is no surprise that IBM tapped Hirsch to found IBM Studios Singapore and establish IBM iX, the firm’s digital agency to challenge traditional agencies. The former consultant at Boston Consulting Group and vice president and managing director at Sapient Singapore and Hong Kong is now a partner and the Asia Pacific lead for IBM iX, where he uses design thinking, IBM Watson, blockchain and cloud to help clients.
A ten-year Singapore resident, Wilson’s career spans leadership roles across multiple agencies, first at McCorkell & Associates and then DWA, which was acquired by Dentsu Aegis Network. Wilson’s place at APD Singapore came after a period of entrepreneurship, founding @ccomplice, which was sold to APD in 2015. Around that time he also stepped up to become the chairman of the IAB in Singapore, a role he has held since, as the organisation has grown significantly in both members and influence.
President, Asia, Digital Arts Network
Peltoniemi has a career path that had been a rarity for leadership, as he started out life in digital advertising as a developer. His career saw him set for management however, now leading TBWA\ Digital Arts Network in Asia, as well as leading the group’s digital capabilities. Outside of the day job, he lectures for MBA programs at universities, such as SMU, NUS, and INSEAD and is an angel investor and mentor to start ups.
Adtech & Martech
Lodhia led the expansion of Inskin's Asia operations beyond Hong Kong to Singapore in 2015 and has since worked in both markets growing the business across the region. While in Singapore, Lodhia became a committee member of the IAB Measurement Standards and Data group, helping to drive forward Southeast Asia’s first viewability test. She is also a regular speaker at events across Asia and hosts the Brand Digital event annually.
Saha joined Xaxis as team member number two in 2012 and leads the business across the region, which counts over 300 members of staff. Over his career he’s also worked in London at Adconion Media Group and later at Innity Corp, bringing him back to Southeast Asia. Alongside his move to Xaxis Saha started engaging with the IAB, being voted in as a board member in 2012, which at the time made him the youngest of the group.
Vice President, Commercial Partnerships, Asia Pacific
Baillie’s start in Asia came as he set up the Southeast Asia office of Radium One. After the business was acquired last year, Baillie remains as the lead for commercial partnerships of its owner RhythmOne. When he isn’t running the business, he is driving forward discussion around programmatic in APAC via the IAB Singapore Programmatic Committee, of which he has been co-chair, as well as immersing himself in Southeast Asia’s startup community.
Managing Director Asia
Newly brought on as managing director for Asia Pacific at SpotX, Buxton previously led mobile specialists S4M. A passion for technology and innovation also led Buxton to the IAB, where he is a board member. Buxton, who has been in Asia since 2011, has also worked at digital behemoths LinkedIn and Microsoft in the region.
VP & General Manager, APAC
Sampson has been the vice president and general manager of APAC at DataXu since 2014. He joined the company in 2010 from Nokia in the United States, where he was director of revenue and financial planning/analysis manager, to establish its presence in Asia. He previously led the IAB Singapore's programmatic committee and is currently a board member, where he leads Tech Tuesday, a pitch off event that introduces new locally grown adtech startups to the industry.
Co-founder & CEO
Huang is the co-founder, CEO of Pixels, a leading digital advertising technology company in Asia helping develop the digital advertising space in Asia since 2002. Today, Pixels provides Pan-Asia, multi-platform digital advertising solutions to advertisers, agencies, publishers and mobile app developers working with over a thousand advertisers last year. Pixels owns and operates leading mobile advertising private marketplace in Hong Kong reaching over 90% of all smartphone users in the city and an award winning mobile rich media suite, a business that launched 4 years ago. Outside of the day job, he is also a founding board member of the Hong Kong Digital Marketing Association (HKDMA), now IAB Hong Kong.
Reinartz is an entrepreneur with a passion for digital innovation and emerging media, while making the world a better place by good design. He got his first job as a designer at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellington at age 20 and has also worked at New Zealand-based agencies Y&R and Clemenger BBDO. However, he eventually decided it was more rewarding both mentally and financially to be his own boss. In finding limitations with mobile as an ad medium, he decided to solve the issue himself, founding Postr.
Co-Founder & Chairman
The co-founder and chairman of global audience solutions company CtrlShift is a man who wears many hats. After leaving Yahoo! as founding managing director of Southeast Asia in 2007, Behnam became an executive mentor at the National University of Singapore and a venture capitalist who co-led investment in Friendster and The Rubicon Project. He then co-founded IAB Singapore and served as vice chairman from 2011 to 2013. He is also currently the Entrepreneur-In-Residence at INSEAD and global chapter chair / ambassador for H2 (h2.co), a Silicon Valley-based network for digital leaders.
With extensive experience across Asia Pacific, Goh is a well-known mobile and digital specialist, often placed on lists of key figures in the industry. She now leads Asia for Blis, helping the business to expand into more markets across the region last year. She also spends time encouraging digital adoption and investment via the IAB, where she was co-chair of the Mobile Committee for two years.
Woolfrey is a mobile advertising veteran, having spent his entire career in the industry working for the likes of InMobi and AOL-owned Millennial Media. He is now the senior vice president of Asia at Singtel’s Amobee, where he is charged leading the company’s growth in the region. Woolfey also sits on the board of directors for the Mobile Marketing Association APAC.
Managing Director, Southeast Asia
An experienced leader of software businesses in Asia and India, Srivastan now leads Adobe’s push into Southeast Asia, across its full remit of services. He has worked across SAP, Oracle and Autodesk in Asia Pacific and the US, in a number of sales and commercial roles. Alongside his busy career, he also finds time to be a member of the Temasek Polytechnic School for Informatics and IT Advisory Committee.