July 05, 2017

First wave of APAC leadership announced for NewCo

By Maxus Global 

Maxus Global

Maxus Global

Over the past week there have been many exciting announcements regarding the leadership of the NewCo offices across APAC. See below for an update of all the market heads announced so far.


 Stanley Ngai

Stanley Ngai, Managing Director of Maxus Hong Kong will take on the role of CEO of the new combined MEC and Maxus ‘NewCo’ agency in Hong Kong when it launches in January 2018.

Stanley has been Maxus Hong Kong Managing Director since January 2015. Prior to joining, he was the General Manager of Maxus Hong Kong for five years, and has made major contributions to the success of the agency, especially in driving changes to meet digital challenges and winning new business.

Stanley will lead a new management team which will include key seniors from both Maxus Hong Kong and MEC Hong Kong.


Maria Malu

Maria Luz “Malu” Vasallo will take on the role of Managing Director of the new combined MEC and Maxus ‘NewCo’ agency in the Philippines.

Malu has been MEC’s Managing Director since 2010 and under her leadership MEC has had an excellent run in the Philippines.

Malu has a long and varied career in media communications, spanning more than 20 years of strategic planning and business development. In 2010, she became the Managing Director of MEC Philippines, where she launched the specialist units MEC Interaction (Digital), MEC Access (Activation) and MEC Analytics & Insight to support a more integrated planning approach to communications. Under her leadership, the agency has established a reputation for creative media excellence as affirmed by the numerous awards and accolades they’ve received over the last seven years.


 Arup Bansal

Arup Bansal will take on the role of Managing Director of the newly combined MEC and Maxus ‘NewCo’ agency in Vietnam.

Arup has been MEC Vietnam’s Managing Director since August 2014.  He has over 15 years brand marketing experience having held senior marketing roles client side with Tata Teleservices and Waterhealth, as well as spending 2 years with Zenith Optimedia immediately prior to joining MEC.


 Christina Vacharanetr

Christina Vacharanetr will take on the role of Managing Director of the newly combined MEC and Maxus ‘NewCo’ agency in Thailand.

Christina has been Managing Director for MEC since 2015, after four years working as Managing Director for Maxus.

Christina Vacharanetr lead Maxus between 2011 and 2014 and became Managing Director for MEC in 2015. She has vast knowledge of advertising and communication as well as the experience of having handled many major accounts for more than 17 years in media and communications. This includes global brands such as Colgate, L’Oréal, Mercedes Benz, Danone, Unilever, and local brands such as, TMB Bank, The Minor Food Group, Nokscoot and Muang Thai Life Assurance.


Michelle Acuthan

Michelle Achuthan, Managing Director of MEC Malaysia will take on the role of MD of the new combined MEC and Maxus ‘NewCo’ agency in Malaysia.

Michelle has been MEC MD since November 2015. She was previously MD of BBDO Malaysia for 4 ½ years and is a 27-year veteran of the advertising industry, having also worked with other leading agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi and J. Walter Thompson.

Michelle Achuthan started off in the ad industry as a copywriter in 1990 and then shifted tracks to account management, with Malaysia Airlines as her first major client at Bates. From 1994, she spent five years at J. Walter Thompson, working on the agency’s stable of global clients like De Beers, Kraft and Ford. Moving to Saatchi & Saatchi in 1999, Achuthan led a team responsible for new business development and managing regional accounts like P&G. In 2003, Achuthan began a 12-year journey with BBDO. During this time, BBDO excelled at the Malaysian Kancil Awards including winning ‘best of show’ two years running as well as winning the 2014 Agency of the Year title. Achuthan was appointed Managing Director of BBDO in 2011 and held the position for 4 ½ years before moving over to the media industry, joining MEC in late 2015. Jumping into a new world of numbers and technology, Achuthan has been managing her clients’ rapid migration of investments into digital, specifically in the areas of programmatic media and online content. She is a natural leader, focusing on talent development internally and business growth for her clients. Achuthan is a certified professional coach and the mother of four children, ranging in age from toddler to teen.


Desh Balakrishnan

Desh Balakrishnan will take on the role of Managing Director of the new combined MEC and Maxus ‘NewCo’ agency in Singapore.

Desh has been Maxus’ managing director for nearly three years, and prior to joining was part of Mindshare Singapore, AGI Communications and Chuo Senko Advertising.

Desh Balakrishnan joined Maxus Singapore as the Managing Director in August 2014, and brings with him a vast knowledge of the local industry as well as the experience of having handled many major accounts in his 14 years in the media field. This includes leading local brands such as DBS Bank, Frasers Centrepoint Malls, Temasek Holdings, NTUC Fairprice Group as well as global brands such as LG Electronics, Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas & Saxo Capital.


Heonjeong Yun

Heonjeong Yun has been named as Managing Director of the new ‘NewCo’ media, content and technology agency in Korea when it launches in January 2018. Heongjeong is currently Managing Director of MEC Korea.

Heongjeong has been MEC’s CEO since 2015 and since then has led MEC to new business growth and success in Korea.

Following GroupM’s recent commitment to adding offline media capabilities, an expanded geographic footprint and an influx of talent to the agency, Christian Juhl, global CEO of Essence, a global digital-first agency, today announced that Jay Lee, current Business Director of Maxus Korea, will transition into the new role of Business Director, Essence Korea, which launches in 2018.

Christian Juhl, global CEO of Essence commented:

“Korea is an incredibly important market to Google, one of our biggest global clients with whom we’ve worked with for over a decade. We’re excited to expand our geographic footprint to provide localized services to Google and other advertisers in the market. Lee has done an impeccable job managing Korea for Maxus and I know he’ll ensure Essence finds success, as well.”


Masako wakana

Masako Wakana will take the lead as Director of the new combined MEC and Maxus ‘NewCo’ agency in Japan. She will report to Linda Lee, Chief Client Officer of GroupM Japan.

Wakana-san has been Director of Maxus Japan since 2014 August, leading key accounts such as Shiseido and driving new business development and the growth of the agency.

Linda has been Chief Client Officer of GroupM Japan since April 2017 and prior to this led MediaCom Japan from March 2016, and was Managing Director of Mindshare Japan from 2011 to 2016.

Masako holds over two decades experience in the industry as a strategic communications leader with a wide range of category experience such as FMCG, healthcare, luxury brands, airlines etc. and has worked with brands such as P&G, Unilever, J&J and SCJ.

Linda Lee

Linda was appointed Chief Client Officer of GroupM Japan in April 2017 in addition to Managing Director of MediaCom Japan role, which was assigned in March 2016. With over 25 years of industry experience, Linda started her advertising career in McCann Erickson in Hong Kong and worked at StarCom Hong Kong and Mindshare Japan before her current role. During her 5 year stewardship of MindShare Japan between 2011 and 2016, Linda enjoyed considerable success, winning new clients like Nike, Dyson etc., as well as overseeing a portfolio including LVMH, Jaguar Land Rover and Lufthansa. During her service, Mindshare won Japan Media Agency of Year in 2014 (Gold) and 2015 (Silver).

Director of Mindshare Japan in between 2011 and 2016, with a strongly successful business record.