DraftWorldwide Changes Asia-Pacific Management

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DraftWorldwide has restructured its management team in Asia-Pacific as it tries to further entrench itself in the region with wider offerings.

The Chicago-based direct marketing agency promoted Catherine Gale to managing director for Asia-Pacific from a similar position with Southeast Asian responsibilities.

"I've charged Catherine with growing successful agencies, agencies that we currently own and also to help me look toward future development in the region," said David Florence, president of DraftWorldwide's international operations.

Gale joined DraftWorldwide six months ago to oversee operations in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. Now she adds to her charge agencies in India, Hong Kong and Thailand. In all, she will oversee nine offices in those markets.

Prior to DraftWorldwide, Gale was integrated communications director at Saatchi & Saatchi London. She has 14 years of marketing experience.

Based in Singapore, her management team will comprise James Peters as regional chief financial officer and Graham Fordyce as regional creative director. Peters was regional CFO at computer maker Gateway before joining DraftWorldwide in January 2002. Fordyce was creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi Direct in New Zealand.

The team will focus on diversifying offerings to prospects and clients like Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, TNT Couriers and Starwood Hotels.

Florence would not disclose the region's contribution to the agency's $3.6 billion billings but said Asia-Pacific was an important growth center for the company.

DraftWorldwide also will strengthen its relationship with Lowe & Partners, both of which are part of ad agency conglomerate Interpublic Group of Companies Inc., New York.

"The agenda for this year is to work closely with Lowe so that it works to our mutual benefit," Florence said. "There's been a number of pitches they've been unsuccessful in because they've not had a fully developed integrated solution."

More specifically, DraftWorldwide and Lowe said clients in Asia-Pacific seek more integrated marketing answers.

"What we have there, for the most part, is direct marketing-focused," Florence said. "We're going to look to expand into both sales promotion and digital marketing."

DraftWorldwide's strategy for some time was growth through acquisitions. But that is not a priority in the current environment, though Florence admitted the agency is looking at Indonesia and Thailand for expansion. On the whole, the emphasis is on extracting more business from existing clients besides the usual involvement in pitches.

"What we're looking to do is find opportunities to serve them in ways that we haven't before," Florence said. "So we're trying to improve the product in all offices. Because in many parts of the world we grew through acquisition and hired people who are specialists in direct, but didn't have as significant a background in promotions.

"In those offices," he said, "we're going to further develop the promotional side of the business and work hard to grow the digital side of the business."


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