People: Initiative appoints James Smyllie to Regional APAC President

SINGAPORE – Initiative, the culturally-driven media agency within IPG Mediabrands, have today announced the appointment of James Smyllie to the position of President Initiative APAC.

An award-winning digital media leader with 20 years’ global and regional industry experience, the last 15 years in the APAC region; Smyllie joins from his prior role as Senior Vice President, Head of Media APAC at Essence where he spent the last three years developing the agency’s consultancy and operating models. Prior to that, Smyllie’s career history included a number of client facing and product development agency roles including International Client President for Carat leading Microsoft & Standard Chartered.

Leigh Terry, CEO of Mediabrands APAC and CEO of Initiative APAC, commented, “As we emerge from a period of flux which has presented both challenges and opportunities for brands and agencies alike; it gives me great pleasure to announce the appointment of James Smyllie to President Initiative APAC, as a clear indicator of Initiative’s growing strength and penetration across this region.” Terry continues, “The combination of James’ impressive digital credentials, coupled with award winning creative strategy and complex client insight, arm him with the skills, experience and mindset to champion Cultural Velocity™ positioning for brands across APAC.”


Smyllie said of his appointment, “I am incredibly excited to join Initiative and work with the talented hard-working team to help build some of the world’s fastest moving and digitally advanced brands. I believe that Initiative, with its Cultural Velocity approach to media, is well positioned to help brands from all categories achieve success in what will be a highly competitive, but also very interesting few years ahead.”

Amy Armstrong, Global CEO of Initiative added, “James will provide regional relationship leadership and growth opportunity for Initiative client stakeholders including global, regional and local brands. This, in addition to nurturing the unique and diverse culture and positioning that make Initiative a stand-out agency in the APAC region.”

James Smyllie will be based in the Initiative regional headquarters in Singapore. He will report jointly to Amy Armstrong, Global CEO of Initiative and Leigh Terry CEO Mediabrands APAC, effective 29th November 2021.

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