Group M agency Essence appoints new APAC CEO

Group M’s Essence has appointed T. Gangadhar to lead the media agency across the Asia Pacific, its fastest growing region.

The new Asia Pacific CEO will be based in Mumbai, and succeeds Kyoko Matsushita, who was promoted to the global chief executive role a year ago.

“Gangs’ extensive experience in the industry, his knowledge of Essence’s culture and our clients, and his vision for our business in the region make him the ideal person to lead us into our next phase of growth and innovation in APAC,” said Matsushita, to whom Gangadhar will continue to report.

“As the most senior member of our regional leadership team, Gangs has done an outstanding job in partnering with me to navigate our business through the challenges of 2020 and I am truly excited about what we will be able to achieve with him at the helm in APAC going forward.”

Gangadhar was most recently president of growth and strategy across the region for the company, leading business strategy, development, and growth. He joined Essence in 2018 as chair in India, and previously served in executive roles at MEC and Sony Entertainment.

“I am honoured to have the opportunity to lead this truly special agency in APAC,” he said of his promotion.

“Essence is pioneering the use of data, analytics, and technology at a time when more and more companies are looking to take advantage of data-driven media and creativity. I am excited about leveraging our best-in-class capabilities to discover new ways to add value for our clients, consumers, and employees – in these current times and in the post-COVID-19 future ahead of us.”

The agency entered the APAC market in 2013, and has since opened offices in Beijing, Bengaluru, Delhi, Jakarta, Melbourne, Mumbai, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo. Its client roster in the region includes Coty, Google, Hermes, NBC Universal, the Financial Times, and Honda motorbikes and scooters.

In February, the agency ended a partnership on the Myer account with WPP stablemate Ikon just six months after it was established, seeing the account return to Ikon. The partnership had been led by Essence’s Jenny Pham, but two months after the partnership commenced, Pham resigned. After the account split, Ikon made five redundancies – a quarter of its Melbourne office – within the Myer team.


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