by MarkLives (@marklives) TBWA has tasked South African group CEO, Sean Donovan, with the additional role of TBWA\Asia president, effective later this year. Charged with further advancing TBWA’s position across the Asia region, Donovan will continue to oversee the company’s SA operation as GCEO until a successor is named.

TBWA logoDonovan has served as GCEO of TBWA\South Africa since 2016, responsible for TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris, GRID Worldwide (now merged with Openco under the Grid brand), Yellowwood, HDI Youth Marketeers and Magna Carta, and 19 affiliate agencies across 14 other African countries. Donovan has been with TBWA since 2010 when it first acquired an equity stake in Openco, where he was the managing director and founding partner. In 2015, he became MD of TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris in Durban, before becoming GCEO in December 2016. Under his watch, the TBWA\SA Group has won various pan-regional accounts, including MTN and MultiChoice Africa.

“In his time leading our agencies in South Africa, Sean has run a group of successful companies and pushed them to the next level of performance, encouraging integration, collaboration, strengthening client relationships, attracting top talent, and driving a new standard of creativity,” says Troy Ruhanen, TBWA\Worldwide CEO. “Entrepreneurship and innovation are in his DNA. He’s got a knack for building chemistry across markets and leads with a roll-up-the-sleeves management style. He is the ideal person to lead the vibrant and diverse markets of Asia, where we continue to innovate at speed and scale.”

Search for successor

In the coming months, Donovan will work closely with John Hunt, co-founder of TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris and creative chairman of TBWA\Worldwide, and Cem Topçuoğlu, TBWA\Worldwide international president, on the search for a successor for SA.

Earlier this year, TBWA was reappointed by Singapore Airlines as its global lead creative agency for a five-year contract, in addition to expanding its global relationship with Hilton in Asia.

“I am humbled and honored to take on this additional role within TBWA\Asia,” says Donovan. “I’ve been a huge fan of the many innovations, products and business offerings that have come out of the region for years and look forward to working with many of our agencies to continue to push the industry forward. It is a privilege to take on this new role while continuing to lead the TBWA Group in South Africa during our search for a successor, a step I take with confidence because of the strong management we have in place across all of our agencies. South Africa will always have a special place in my heart, and I’m incredibly proud to attribute my knowledge and creative compass to the African market. It now feels like the right time to bring this knowledge and energy into a market as enterprising and progressive as Asia, and I can’t wait to grab the opportunity.”


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