Singaporean first Asian co-chair of Ogilvy's global board

Mr Tham says his new role as co-chairman of Ogilvy's worldwide board is a 'great honour'.
Mr Tham says his new role as co-chairman of Ogilvy's worldwide board is a 'great honour'.

Ad veteran is also agency's first Asian worldwide chief creative officer

Prominent advertising veteran Tham Khai Meng has become the first Singaporean to be named co-chair of ad giant Ogilvy & Mather's worldwide board.

Mr Tham, who is in his early 60s, is also the agency's worldwide chief creative officer, and the first Asian and Singaporean to take on that role.

The New York-based pitchman, who has been in the business for about 35 years, had been co-chairman and regional executive creative director for Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific for nine years.

He led Ogilvy & Mather to win the prestigious Cannes Lions Network of the Year award four years in a row from 2012. The agency, which has served clients such as Coca-Cola, IBM, Unilever and Louis Vuitton, is one of the largest marketing communications companies in the world and has a network of more than 500 offices in 126 countries.

Mr Tham was also one of four recipients of the Designer of the Year award at the 2009 President's Design Award in Singapore.

CARRYING ON TRADITION

Many years ago, when David Ogilvy founded the agency, he said, 'If you don't sell, you don't eat'. He was a peerless creative with an unswerving belief in effectiveness...I greatly look forward to working with John Seifert to build upon this proud Ogilvy tradition.''

MR THAM KHAI MENG, on his hopes to follow in the tradition of Ogilvy & Mather's founder.

He also served on the high-level Economic Review Committee in 2002, which brought together business, academic and government leaders to find a new strategic direction for Singapore as it evolved from a manufacturing to a knowledge-based economy.

Before joining Ogilvy & Mather, Mr Tham worked at Leo Burnett and Batey Ads. His past work includes advertisements for Singapore Airlines and Raffles Hotel.

His new appointment as co-chairman is a "great honour", Mr Tham told The Straits Times. He will head the board with Mr John Seifert, who was appointed worldwide chief executive this month. Mr Seifert, 58, has spent 37 years at Ogilvy & Mather and will take on the co-chairman role on Sept 1. Until then, his predecessor, Mr Miles Young, will continue as chairman.

Said Mr Tham: "Many years ago, when David Ogilvy founded the agency, he said, 'If you don't sell, you don't eat'. He was a peerless creative with an unswerving belief in effectiveness...I greatly look forward to working with John Seifert to build upon this proud Ogilvy tradition."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 02, 2016, with the headline 'S'porean first Asian co-chair of Ogilvy's global board'. Print Edition | Subscribe