Dentsu International has named Robert Gilby as its APAC CEO. Gilby will take on the role 5 September 2022 onwards. Gilby will be responsible for unifying the APAC region’s 11,600 talented people in 18 markets around dentsu’s global ambition to be the most integrated network in ad land.

He has over 30 years’ experience in the media and entertainment industry and has worked in Asia Pacific for over 25 years. According to the agency, he has a proven track-record of growing profitable businesses including WarnerMedia and The Walt Disney Company, with extensive experience in markets including Australia, China, India, Southeast Asia and Singapore.

Gilby joins dentsu from Nielsen where he is president, APAC responsible for building relationships with key media owners, brands and agencies to deliver audience insights across the media ecosystem. Prior to that he was CEO and founder of Blue Hat Ventures, an investment and advisory firm focussed on identifying and commercialising high-growth businesses in the digital media sector in Asia Pacific. He also held non-executive board and advisory roles at the Ministry of Communications & Information, the InfoComm Media Development Authority and the Singapore Media Festival.

“Gilby is an exceptionally well-rounded leader with a progressive approach that deeply understands the future of the industry and opportunities for growth, for our people, our clients and our business” said dentsu International CEO, Wendy Clark. “Importantly, he clearly demonstrated his long-term vision, values-based leadership style and passion for building high-performance, diverse teams that is fundamental to the way we do business at dentsu.”

“I was instantly drawn to dentsu’s compelling vision with its rich heritage as the only holding company born out of Asia. It is a privilege to be leading this region with the world looking to the Asia Pacific region as its GDP growth is forecasted to remain strong, the emerging middle-class booms and rapid digitisation and investment in homegrown platforms leapfrog existing technologies. dentsu's ability to understand people better than anyone else and vision for horizontal creativity coupled with these market conditions creates an exciting opportunity for brands to thrive.”

He will be based in Singapore reporting to Wendy Clark, global CEO, dentsu International, and joins the dentsu International executive team.

The role of the APAC CEO was previously held by Ashish Bhasin who left the agency in November last year, after 13 years in the group. Bhasin was first named APAC CEO in 2019. He  was previously CEO  of Dentsu Aegis Network Greater South. When Bhasin was first appointed, his main focus was to accelerate growth while delivering "greater operational rigour and leadership excellence" across the region. To manage his transition, APAC CFO Simon Jones and COO Belli Mathanda have been be working closely with Clark to have a greater focus on the region during this time supported by the APAC executive team. 

Meanwhile, last month dentsu international also created a new global creative network, Dentsu Creative, uniting its creative agencies including DentsuMB, 360i and Isobar, and expanding its entertainment, earned attention and experience capabilities. Dentsu Creative will be comprised of 9,000 individuals in 46 markets connected to 37,000 media and CXM experts across dentsu international and collaborate closely with dentsu’s creative team in Japan.

According to the agency, the launch is part of a broader strategy aimed at simplifying client engagement and injecting creativity in everything dentsu international does. Dentsu Creative blends dentsu’s Japanese heritage and craft with its experience of building brands in the modern media landscape.

On the client front, dentsu recently bagged the Lenovo media business across Asia Pacific, working with incumbent Performics which retained the paid media business for Lenovo in China. Separately, Standard Chartered also named  dentsu International  its media agency to cover media planning, buying, and strategy for five years. Both parties have been working together since 2017.

Related articles:
dentsu's APAC creative chief Merlee Jayme steps down after 6 years
dentsu Singapore's chief strategy officer steps down
Merkle Asia Pacific names new CEO
dentsu Indonesia makes key promotions as it bags slew of new clients
Phil Adrien steps down from APAC creative CEO role at dentsu International
dentsu SG promotes Pankaj Nayak to media group MD
dentsu HK brings in Napoleon Biggs as chief consultant


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