Havas Media Group Singapore has promoted Russell Lai to chief commercial officer. In his new role, he will be overseeing the media offerings and commercial priorities of the group, covering two agency brands - Havas Media and Arena Media. 

Lai has been with the agency for seven years as managing director of Havas Media, seeing through the growth of the agency which has won several awards in the media agency of the year category at of MARKETING-INTERACTVE’s Agency of the Year awards since 2016. He has also worked with media agency brands such as IPG, Zenith and PHD

In the new role, he will be reporting to Jacqui Lim, who recently expanded her role as CEO of Havas Media Group SG, to take on an additional title as chief growth officer of SEA & North Asia of Havas Group. 

According to Lim, his elevation to the group function comes after a strong and steady track record of client retention, service diversification and business growth over the last two years in high-growth categories such as fintech, digital banking, gaming and other eCommerce clients. She added that the role is a newly created one at the group level given the growth trajectory of the business across all its agency brands.

“It is therefore timely to ensure that synergies, product investment and partnerships be driven at the group level to benefit all the agency brands under the group and our roster of clients,” she said.

Lim also said that the promotion is a well-deserved recognition for Lai’s contribution to the agency’s evolution journey. “With the speed at which the industry is evolving across media, data, content, entertainment and web 3.0, it is paramount to identify strong and agile leaders that have their pulse on the market trajectory.”

She added that the agency was looking for someone who can lead the navigation of these complexities together with clients, partners and internal teams to deliver augmented customer experiences and business accountability in the coming time ahead. “Lai has proven to be the progressive leader of choice to chart this growth path for the group,” said Lim.

With the promotion on Lai, Lim shared that there will be a newly minted leadership team from both agency brands – Havas Media and Arena Media.  

“I am very proud of the growth strides we have accomplished in the last seven years and thrilled with the opportunity to accelerate our growth. As chief commercial officer, I will continue to focus on future-proofing, empowerment and collaboration in order to build and strengthen Havas Media Group’s position as a leader in the local media industry. I truly believe our best days are still ahead.” added Lai.

In November last year , Havas Media Group made several leadership hires to bolster its Singapore and regional operations as part of its growth plans in the areas of data and digital excellence and strategic business leadership. It appointed Leroy Lim as strategic business lead for Singapore and regional growth and client lead for SEA, Deanson Leeas executive director of digital strategy and solutions, and Ellen Dunkley as performance marketing lead in Singapore.

According to the agency, the appointments come at the back of strong business momentum and the increasing digitalisation ambitions of clients; as they bounce back from the pandemic to aggressively regain and grow their business through more agile marketing strategies. 

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