TBWA has announced a new Asia president, promoting current South Africa Group CEO Sean Donovan.
Donovan replaces Ian Pearman who recently left the group, and the advertising industry, after two years in the Asia president role. Pearman had been tapped from his previous role at AMVBBDO to replace Philip Brett who took the chief operating officer role at TBWA\Worldwide.
According to TBWA, Donovan will take on the new role in the summer while continuing to additionally run the South Africa business, until they name a successor.
Troy Ruhanen, chief executive officer of TBWA\Worldwide, said: “In his time leading our agencies in South Africa, Sean has run a group of successful companies and pushed them to the next level of performance, encouraging integration, collaboration, strengthening client relationships, attracting top talent, and driving a new standard of creativity. Entrepreneurship and innovation are in his DNA. He’s got a knack for building chemistry across markets and leads with a roll-up-the-sleeves management style. He is the ideal person to lead the vibrant and diverse markets of Asia, where we continue to innovate at speed and scale.”
According to TBWA, his current role sees him manage a range of agencies and multiple African markets. He currently manages seven group operating companies across the country, including TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris, GRID, Yellowwood, OpenCo, HDI Youth Marketers and Magna Carta, and 19 affiliate agencies across 14 other African countries.
Brett also added that this diversity of management links well to the Asia region, “Sean has been a key part of our global leadership team for several years, and we’ve seen the tremendous impact that he’s made across his market and beyond. He is eminently qualified to lead a region as big, dynamic and diverse as Asia.”
Donovan first became a part of the TBWA group when it acquired an equity stake in the integrated communications agency, OpenCo-The Open Collaboration, in 2010, where he was the managing director and founding partner. He then took on the role of managing director of TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris in Durban in 2015 and later Group CEO in 2016.