David Wightman, the global head of advertising at South China Morning Post (SCMP) has resigned from his post after taking on the role in October last year. The role was a newly created one to push for the growth of SCMP , powered by adtech innovation and data-driven advertising effectiveness. Wightman was expected to spearhead the ongoing growth and international expansion of SCMP ’s global advertising business.

In a statement to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE , SCMP  confirmed the departure stating: "As of 31 May, Wightman is no longer SCMP’s global head of advertising. He led important initiatives to build on our advertising business and we are grateful for his leadership. We are confident in our advertising leadership team to continue growing SCMP's regional-best content and data-led solutions, and we wish him every success in the future."

Darryl Choo, business director, International who is based in Singapore, Belinda Tse, business director based in Hong Kong, and Karrie Lam who is VP of content solutions, will in the meantime continue with the operations as per usual.  MARKETING-INTERACTIVE understands that Wightman's resignation came several weeks prior to the news being made known internally, and no replacement has been named yet.

During his time with SCMP,  Wightman  was responsible for leading a department spanning Hong Kong, mainland China, Asia, USA and Europe, and oversee global media sales, marketing and creative solutions, branded content, events, custom publishing, advertising technology, and sales operations.  Wightman has more than two decades of industry experience, gained at the intersection of media, data and technology. He has previously built and led local and international sales and operations teams within digital and traditional media companies.

Before joining SCMP, Wightman was based in London as the group director of business operations for Ebiquity. Prior to that, he was the managing director of [M]Platform, where he launched and scaled the regional programmatic, data and technology division of GroupM Asia Pacific.

Wightman told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that he is very proud of his time at SCMP. "During my tenure, I led the rebuilding of the advertising department and established a new leadership team. Every role within that new leadership team came from an internal promotion - and every person promoted repaid that trust by proving themselves as highly effective executives," he said.

"The sales practice returned to hitting targets, our content solutions practice saw significant growth, and our operations practice improved the efficiency of our entire team by bringing together our legacy digital and print operations," he added.

Wightman explained that had he stayed at SCMP, complications surrounding the relocation of his family meant he would have needed to live apart from them for over a year and this was not something he could do. "I was not asked to leave, on the contrary, I chose to leave myself. I wish the team of SCMP the very best of success for the future. I believe the team are in fine shape to continue to build upon the significant successes of the last six months," he added.

In May last year, the SCMP rebranded its advertising and marketing solutions team to SCMP Advertising . The rebranding is part of a strategic initiative to align its advertising business with its well established digital expertise to empower clients with tools that deliver more effective and efficient campaigns. Also, the company said the rebranding "solidifies SCMP Advertising’s position as a leading insight driven brand partner committed to driving client success across APAC, after being the first news publisher in Asia to launch a first party data platform in SCMP Lighthouse and brand suitability tool in SCMP Signal."

Meanwhile, in July last year, after 20 years with the firm, Elsie Cheung stepped down from chief operating officer of the South China Morning Post on 30 July 2021. In a farewell memo, Cheung said, working at the Post was an exciting time for her with the changes in the media industry and “witnessing SCMP grow from a local newspaper to a global news organisation, and seeing the company successfully transitioning into the digital age”.

SCMP is also currently in the midst of appointing a new CEO as Gary Liu takes on a new role with takes on the responsibility to oversee the expansion of Artifact Labs, a spin-off blockchain-based NFT business by SCMP . Currently, a global search for the next CEO has already begun to take SCMP to the next phase of growth. 

SCMP has reported on China and Asia for more than a century. Founded in 1903, SCMP is headquartered in Hong Kong, with a growing correspondent staff across Asia and the United States. A digital-first media organisation, SCMP is also home to Goldthread, a content platform with a focus on food, travel and culture in China, and publishes a portfolio of premium lifestyle and fashion titles in Hong Kong including Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Esquire and Harper's BAZAAR

Related articles:

SCMP spins off NFT biz with CEO Gary Liu at helm, global search for new CEO underway
SCMP nabs former Ebiquity and GroupM talent David Wightman to grow global advertising

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