Former Proximity London boss – and current Proximity Worldwide chairman – Chris Thomas has been handed the role of chief executive of BBDO’s Americas division, after heading up the group’s Asia wing for over nine years.
Thomas was new business director at AMV BBDO for a decade before joining Proximity London in 2001 as part of Omnicom’s succession plan for co-founder Simon Hall.
As it was his first ever experience of running a direct marketing agency, Hall worked hard to introduce Thomas to the industry. During this period, Hall even dispatched him off to spend some time with DM veteran Graeme McCorkell, for Kung Fu-style “Master Po” guru sessions.
Hall left the group soon after and along with executive creative director Warren Moore set up Hall Moore CHI.
Thomas was promoted to CEO of Asia, the Middle East and Africa in January 2006 and has been in the job ever since. He will take up his new role in May.
At BBDO Americas he will be in charge of 21 offices across the US, Canada and Latin America, and will remain chairman of I&S BBDO Japan and chairman of Proximity Worldwide. The chief executive of BBDO Singapore Jean-Paul Burge will replace him as Asia chairman and chief executive.
Thomas succeeds Troy Ruhanen, who became the executive vice-president of Omnicom Group in 2013 and is now president and chief executive of TBWA Worldwide.
Thomas is quoted as saying: “I’ve lived in Asia a long time, in Europe for a long time, but I’ve never lived in the US, and that will probably be my first challenge. I do, however, know our US colleagues really well and most of our MNC clients, while based in North America, are regular travellers to Asia.”
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