WPP’s media investment group GroupM has appointed Ashutosh Srivastava as CEO of Asia Pacific. Ashutosh will be based in Singapore and take responsibility for all other GroupM Asia Pacific markets, excluding China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Srivastava joined WPP in 1997 in India with J. Walter Thompson, leading the Unilever relationship until 2001. He was subsequently the CEO for GroupM in South Asia, before moving to Singapore to be Mindshare APAC CEO in 2006. He then became Mindshare’s global products and talent leader from 2012-14 and, since then, has been CEO for its growth markets group covering APAC, MENA, Africa and Russia. Srivastava will transition his leadership of Mindshare’s Russia, Middle East and Africa markets to Helen McRae, CEO Mindshare EMEA and Worldwide Client Group, in due course.
According to Srivastava, developing people and products has always been his prime passion and he looks to aid agencies in differentiating themselves in the market and unlock growth for clients.
“With such a huge market share, we also have a unique opportunity to work closely with brand marketers and various media, tech and data partners, to reshape our industry into a force for good for the world. We’re looking forward to working with these partners to help clean-up ad fraud, personal data misuse and unsafe environments through the development of sustainable practices,” he added.
Meanawhile, another leadership change in GroupM will be Patrick Xu whose China CEO remit will be expanded to include Hong Kong and Taiwan. He (pictured left) will be based in Shanghai.
Xu joined GroupM in 2014 as China CEO, leading the group to double-digit growth annually since 2015. In early 2017, Xu added WPP country manager to his remit, responsible for delivering growth and attracting, developing and retaining talent.
Xu said GroupM has the fastest-growing and the most progressive digital markets in the world with diversity of media landscapes, cultures and consumer preferences.
“I am excited and honoured to have the opportunity to jointly drive the development of GroupM in Asia Pacific with Srivastava and our team. Our joint leadership will do all we can to enhance synergy and create more value for our clients as well as our media and tech partners,” he added.
In their new roles, Xu and Srivastava will join recently named EMEA CEO Demet İkiler as the newest members of the global leadership team and will be responsible for strategy and operations throughout the APAC region across GroupM’s agencies, including Mindshare, MediaCom, Wavemaker, Essence and m/Six.
Currently, GroupM APAC has a market share of 43% in the region, with 12,000 people and nearly US$16 billion in billings across 16 countries. According to the media group, Xu and Srivastava will be tasked to champion GroupM’s strategy to work with agency and GroupM leadership in the region using the group’s scale to provide more powerful and effective solutions for clients through the development of global technology-enabled services.
Meanwhile, GroupM Global COO Mark Patterson said the group elected to structure the region this way given its size and cultural diversity. “The leaders of this region require broad and deep local market understanding and cultural insight as well as a hands-on approach working with the regional and market teams. Xu and Srivastava fit the bill perfectly. The region couldn’t be in better hands,” he added.