WFA strengthens Asia Leadership team
Unilever’s David Porter to move from current role as APAC Chair, WFA Media Forum to Regional VP, Asia Pacific while new Asia Leadership Board will identify key changes to transform marketing across the region
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WFA has announced the appointment of David Porter, Vice-President Global Media at Unilever, as its new Regional Vice-President for Asia-Pacific.
In this new capacity, David will play a critical role in shaping WFA’s first Asia Leadership Board, which will start operating later this year, as well as strengthening WFA’s footprint in APAC.
David has more than 40 years of industry experience in both agency and in-house roles and currently oversees one of the largest media budgets in the region in his present role at Unilever.
He replaces Sameer Desai, Global Head of Consumer Healthcare at Mundipharma, who steps down after four years in the role but will continue to play an important role as WFA prepares the launch of a new Asia leadership team.
The new Asia Leadership Board will create a regional agenda for change with marketers at brands as well as their partners in agencies and media owners. Its launch reflects both the critical importance of Asia-Pacific as a growth generator for global brands as well as the need to address some of the unique challenges that marketers face in the region such as capability development and limited resources that provide a unique perspective on the marketing and media ecosystem in these markets.
WFA members still overwhelmingly see Asia-Pacific as a critical source of growth for their brands. Seventy-two per cent of respondents to a recent WFA member barometer said it would be a critical source of growth in the next years.
Companies represented on the board include current members of the WFA global Executive Committee such as AirAsia, CIMB, Mundipharma, Singapore Tourism Board and Unilever, with the full list to be announced soon.
Approximately a quarter of WFA’s meetings now take place in APAC, with member forums held in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Mumbai and Singapore in 2019, with Singapore hosting the most. The city state will also host from April 20-23, 2021 WFA’s biggest annual event, Global Marketer Week, originally scheduled for 2020 but reprogrammed following the authorities’ recommendations relating to the Coronavirus outbreak in the region.
“This is an important period of transition for our members, who are reshaping around agile working and data-driven marketing. They face multiple external challenges, particularly in the digital marketplace. I hope to keep up the high standards set under Sameer Desai’s leadership and, through initiatives such as the Global Alliance for Responsible Media, to make sure that brands’ voices are heard as we help to steer the digital ecosystem towards a safer, more accountable and sustainable future,” said David Porter.
“I have been associated with the WFA over the last 14 years in the UAE, UK and Singapore and it has been an absolute honour to have been the Regional VP. In the last four years, APAC has firmly established itself as a key region globally for the WFA. Having doubled the number of our Asian and Asia-based members in this time has allowed us to have a critical voice in global discussions. We could not have asked for a better person than David to take over the baton of the APAC leadership. He has already played a pivotal role in WFA’s presence in APAC over the past few years, and I have complete confidence that, along with Ranji David [WFA’s Director of Marketing Services for APAC] and the Asia Leadership Board, he will take this organisation to greater impact and relevance than ever before. I would like to wish him the very best in his new role,” said Sameer Desai.
“APAC has become more and more important for global brands over the last three decades – driven by a growing middle class that is increasingly digital-savvy and innovation-hungry. In updating our leadership team for APAC, we want to recognise both the importance of the region but also to ensure we are better placed to address the unique opportunities and challenges faced by our members. Sameer’s contributions to our growth in Asia have given us a strong foundation in the region and we look forward to building on that with David in this role,” said Stephan Loerke, CEO of WFA.