James Graver named vice president, managing director Australia of Essence

Group M media agency Essence has appointed James Graver as vice president, managing director, Australia.

Graver joined from UM Singapore, where he was head of J3 APAC, leading the Johnson and Johnson account across the region. Before UM, he held digital and strategy roles at MEC locally and OMD in the UK.

Graver joins from UM, where he was based in Singapore

“James has a proven track record in growing businesses and building strong relationships with clients, agency teams and external partners alike. He is a strong communicator with a creative and analytical mind. We are confident that he will bring greater success to Essence and our clients in Australia,” said Kyoko Matsushita, incoming global CEO.

Graver will be based in Sydney and lead Essence’s Australian operations in Melbourne and Sydney. Essence added that he will oversee the “delivery of consistent work quality to the agency’s portfolio of clients including Google and Tigerair, as well as its operational effectiveness and financial performance”.

He will also be part of the agency’s APAC leadership team.

“It is an incredible feeling to be back in Australia and working with such a supremely talented team. Essence is unlike any other agency I have worked at, and is uniquely positioned to help drive our clients and industry forward,” said Graver of his new role.

In addition to the recent promotion of Matsushita to global CEO, Essence hired Alan Jenner as director of publisher partnerships. Earlier this month, Mumbrella also revealed that Essence has entered into a partnership with fellow WPP agency Ikon for the Myer account. The partnership was implemented prior to five redundancies in Ikon’s Myer team, leaving one person at Ikon on the account.


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