Accenture's Nikki Mendonça on building a global leadership team and automating APAC

Accenture Interactive Operations (AIO) chief Nikki Mendonça on the hiring of Casper Schlickum

“I was practically dancing around my office when he accepted my offer,” says Accenture Interactive Operations (AIO) chief Nikki Mendonça, discussing the hire of Wunderman’s APAC chief executive Caspar Schlickum – an appointment she describes as "iconic" for the region.

Schlickum joins as regional managing director for APAC after years of holding senior digital roles within WPP.

Former Xaxis chief, Schlickum also recently arrived at the business to lead its product and service officering out of Singapore across APAC, with a remit to scale marketing efforts and improve business outcomes. His departure from Wunderman was announced in January, where he was succeeded by Annette Male, who took over newly-merged entity Wunderman Thompson.

“I do believe that we are building a new model for a new generation of marketers, it’s not for everybody but there is a new generation coming through at quite a pace,” reiterates Mendonça, having already opened up about her expectations upon joining AIO with The Drum in Cannes last year.

She highlights the importance of strengthening the business in APAC under a strong centralised leadership following acquisitions in the region, including Ho Communications in China and The Monkeys in Australia and New Zealand.

“What we need now is someone to turbo-charge our growth agenda across the whole region,” she states, relaying the characteristics she believes Schlickum brings with him to this mission.

“He is very data-driven, very comfortable with marketing and completely comfortable with content adaptation because of what he has done at Wunderman and completely au fait with programmatic delivery.”

As to why such a significant position will be based in Singapore, where Accenture already has offices, she explains that the location is of strategic importance with current and potential clients on the doorstep.

She explains the role Schlickum will play going forward in all this: “A lot of the conversations [we are having at the moment] start with the plumbing and the technology needed behind the foundational infrastructure to build more effective marketing operational models.

"So, he will be working hand-in-hand with Accenture Interactive to help clients get that plumbing across the region absolutely correct and to create a more effective and bespoke operating model out of APAC to some of our global clients.”

Mendonça also believes that "the foundation’ of data, tech, and marketing" as the machinery for business are even more important in the APAC region due to the diversity that is found there.

“Automation particularly is something that our clients are demanding is increased within their marketing 10-fold – that will be one of the key areas that he starts with,” she reveals.

Finally, she talks about her global operational board which Schlickum and fellow new recruit Peter Kolster Hansen (who has joined as managing director and worldwide lead for Next-Generation Content Services) will sit on, saying there are still spaces to be filled.

“It’s critically important to have an APAC voice at the table but a very loud voice and I welcome Caspar to help me hone and move the strategy forward.”

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