Amrita Randhawa has departed her role at Mindshare and will join Publicis Groupe on June 1 as CEO for Southeast Asia.
Randhawa has been Mindshare's APAC CEO and its executive chair for Greater China since early 2018, prior to which she was the agency's Greater China CEO.
With the move, Publicis Groupe now has arguably two of the most respected female leaders to emerge in the region in recent years, with Randhawa's SEA role mirroring Jane Lin-Baden's position as North Asia CEO (Lin-Baden is also managing partner, APAC).
Randhawa will oversee all aspects of the business: creative, media, influence, production, commerce, data, tech and clients. Her priority will be driving impact by "making clients win in a platform world", the company said.
Based in Singapore and reporting to Loris Nold, Publicis Groupe CEO for Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, the role will bring Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand under a single leader. All those markets currently report into Nold, who told Campaign Asia-Pacific he believes his new SEA CEO will help unlock new achievements in SEA.
"The markets have delivered solid performance, and we have strong in-country leadership and have made some significant investments on capabilities such as digital, media and production," he said. "But I strongly believe that this region should to be managed as one, with a view to leverage each country’s unique strength through client hubs, centers of excellence and a more fluid management of our talents across the region."
Nold called Randhawa one of the most admired leaders in the region and a true change agent. "She is exactly the progressive leader we need to take on this incredibly important region," he said. "She brings superior product expertise across performance, ecommerce, data, content and technology, to which she adds true leadership and a great understanding of what clients want and need."
Randhawa has worked with L’Oréal, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Yum! and Nike across Delhi, Mumbai, Beijing and Singapore. She became China president at Mindshare in 2012, was named to Campaign Asia-Pacific's 40 Under 40 in 2013 and just finished up chairing Campaign's MediaWorks training experience for young media professionals. She was also recognized in Campaign's 2017 and 2018 Women Leading Change Awards, taking the CEO of the Year award at the latter event. The new role will be a return to Publicis for her, as she spent time at Starcom in Bangalore between 2003 and 2005.
Adam Gerhart, Mindshare's global CEO said “Amrita has been a fantastic ambassador for Mindshare. We are sad to see her leave and wish her all the best in the next chapter of her life and career."
Ashutosh Srivastava, Asia Pacific CEO of GroupM, will now be taking on additional responsibility for the Mindshare APAC CEO role until a permanent appointment is in place. This process is already underway.
Just 10 days ago, Mindshare appointed a dedicated China CEO, Benjamin Condit, and Greater China executive chair, Linda Lin, two roles Randhawa had managed since she was promoted to APAC CEO in 2018.
For her part, Randhawa said she could not pass up the opportunity to bring data, technology, creativity and media together for clients in one seamless offer, nor the opportunity to lead a region that "still has so much headroom for growth".
Though she has had a "dream run" at Mindshare, Randhawa said that "passion, enthusiasm and commitment to the need to be in service of the transforming needs of clients, not just as a groupe but as an industry", sold her on the move. "The vision and authenticity specifically around unleashing the best within people to deliver change was refreshing, leaving me impatient to start," she said.
In addition to Lin-Baden in North Asia and now Randhawa in Southeast Asia, Publicis Groupe's other CEOs in the region are Anupriya Acharya in South Asia and Michael Rebelo in ANZ.
(This article first appeared on CampaignAsia.com)