SINGAPORE--Kreab Gavin Anderson (KGA) has responded to the departure of its senior leadership in Singapore by naming a new head of its operation in the country.
The agency, which parted ways with four key global executives earlier this year, has appointed KGA veteran Jenny Yeo as Singapore managing partner.
The move follows the news that managing partner Terence Foo is to depart the firm after 13 years, including a decade in charge of Singapore. Another director at the office, Sharon Seetho, is also leaving the firm.
Kreab Gavin Anderson chairman and CEO Peje Emilsson dismissed the notion that Foo’s departure was linked to the exits of Asia-Pacific chief Richard Barton, Japan head Deborah Hayden and London managing partner Fergus Wylie earlier this year.
The trio, said Emilsson, were “asked to leave” the agency on the same day in September, along with CFO Gene Golembeski. He declined to comment on whether the four executives had attempted a management buy-out, or had been planning a breakaway operation.
“[Terence] talked to me in July and said he was thinking of doing something else,” said Emilsson. “It’s a pity but I understand that sometimes you want to make a change.”
Foo is a highly-rated operator in Singapore’s financial and corporate communications market, having built KGA into a strong, profitable operation.
Yeo takes charge after spending the previous two years as director and head of investor relations in for KGA Asia, ex Japan. She also worked for KGA between 2005 and 2007.
She becomes the latest new office head at KGA, following promotions for Gunilla Banér (London); Jonathan Kushner (Tokyo); and, Walter Jennings (Hong Kong).
Emilsson denied that the senior staff turnover at the firm has been disruptive. “So far, no one has left if I haven’t asked them to. But it’s gone very smoothly and that’s due to the fact that those people that left have built very strong structures below them. So it’s been fairly easily transitions in most cases.”
“In this kind of business, it’s quite common that people are reflecting about how they are going to operate and there are sometimes changes,” said Emilsson. “I don’t see it as very dramatic. When you make a change you get new energy into the system and you take a step forward.”
The mooted MBO is understood to have included parts of KGA’s business in Europe and Asia. Emilsson did note that Asia was a key reason in the original merger between Omnicom siblings Kreab and Gavin Anderson in 2009.
Kreab chairman Emilsson took on CEO duties of the merged firm earlier this year, after former global CEO Richard Constant resigned.