MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Merlee Jayme, CCO Dentsu APAC has left creative agency Dentsu after six years. Merlee has been known as the “Chairmom” ever since she founded her agency back in 2005. In 2016, Dentsu acquired her award-winning Jayme Syfu agency. Since that time, Dentsu Jayme Syfu has won significant businesses like Coca-Cola, Nestlé, and Dole Foods, and notable awards from Cannes Lions to D&AD, CLIOs, The One Show, LIAs, and many more. Her last two years catapulted her into a global role as Global Co-President of denstuMB, and as Asia Pacific’s Chief Creative Officer.
“People who know me well describe me as restless and relentless,” Merlee shared. “I am a results-driven person. Whenever I feel I’ve accomplished something or have achieved a goal, my gut tells me to move on.”
Merlee has decided to leave the network after what she considers to be six challenging but fulfilling years. She fondly recalled, “During these years at Dentsu, balancing between building a business and creating life-changing work was tough. But we managed to stay focused, attract great people and clients plus more importantly, create a reputation for work that made a big difference in people’s lives and the world.” As the CEO and the CCO of Dentsu Jayme Syfu, her vision of creating ideas that change people’s lives and the world for the better has produced some of the best creative work in the country.
After joining the network in 2016, she was tasked with co-running the newly formed Dentsu McGarrybowen as Global Co-President with John Dupuis in 2020. The pandemic had just started, and her role was to drive strong collaboration across all Dentsu McGarrybowen’s markets globally, but from her front room. After a year of driving integration and creative product, she was promoted to Chief Creative Officer in Asia Pacific. This is where she made powerful bonds with Dentsu’s creative heads, young talent, growth officers and launched several programs to strengthen the creative reputation of the region. During this time, Dentsu has been named the Spikes Network of the year 2021, Cannes Lions Regional Network of the Year 2021, ADSTARS Network of the Year 2021, and ADFEST Network of the Year 2022.
Merlee is very grateful for Dentsu’s partnership. Her main goal when joining the Japanese network was to upgrade and update her agency’s skills and capabilities with technology and innovation, excel in data and experience, discover the secret to amazing creativity, and to belong to an inclusive and diverse community that celebrates cultural differences. She feels she’s now achieved this.
Global Chief Creative Officer Fred Levron shared, “It has been a joy to get to know Merlee and witness her bring her magical blend of entrepreneurialism, creativity, and empathy to the table every day.”
One of the eight women in the top 100 Chief Creative Directors global list from The Drum in 2019, Merlee is a fierce advocate for women. She is Dentsu APAC’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Sponsor, working with teams from across Asia Pacific who are just as passionate about Gender Equality, Identity, Neurodiversity, Ability, and Mental Wellness. She has won awards for her work for GABRIELA, an international women’s group and founded “Sistergood,” a project for women to support other women at work. This year, she has been recognized with a commendation from the Campaign Women Leading Change Asia Pacific for being a Women Advancement Champion.
“I will forever hold my Dentsu friends all over the world close to my heart. I’m also so thankful to have been blessed with wonderful partners in Dentsu Jayme Syfu and Dentsu One Manila,” she said when asked what she will miss the most.
Merlee is this year’s ADFEST Grand Jury Head, D&AD’s jury president for Radio and Audio, and one of the Cannes Lions Titanium jury members this June. She plans to continue her initiatives for women in leadership and finally launch her second book titled “Chairmom” in July.
Read more about Merlee here: