McCann Worldgroup has expanded roles for three of its top regional leaders, including Alex Lubar, President of McCann Worldgroup Asia Pacific, who has been named President of the McCann advertising agency network in North America. Ghassan Harfouche, Group CEO of the Middle East Communications Network (MCN), McCann Worldgroup’s and Interpublic Group’s partner network in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, will now also be President of McCann Worldgroup Asia Pacific. And Ji Watson, CFO of McCann Worldgroup APAC & Representative Director of McCann Worldgroup Japan, has been named CEO of McCann Worldgroup Japan.
Alex Lubar moved to Singapore two years ago to assume his Asia Pacific leadership role. He first joined McCann in New York in 2012 and two years later was promoted to global CMO, overseeing all integrated new business activity for McCann Worldgroup.
Ghassan Harfouche, who joined MCN in 2011, leads a network in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey that encompasses 14 different Interpublic Group advertising, media and PR agency brands in 15 cities across 13 countries. Harfouche joins Prasoon Joshi, Chairman of McCann Worldgroup Asia and CEO & CCO of McCann Worldgroup India, in overseeing the APAC region’s operations of 26 offices in 13 markets including affiliate agencies.
Ji Watson, who takes over as CEO of McCann Worldgroup Japan, while retaining her role as CFO of McCann Worldgroup APAC & Representative Director of McCann Worldgroup Japan, has nearly 30 years of marketing industry experience. She spent the first 20+ years of her career in senior management roles on the client-side, working for Turner Broadcasting, Coca-Cola and Samsung. She moved to the agency side with global roles at Ogilvy for seven years before she joined McCann APAC in 2016.
In addition to Joshi’s APAC leadership and management of South Asia, and Ji Watson’s dual roles in Japan and in APAC, other sub-regional hubs are led by Emily Chang, CEO, McCann Worldgroup China – former CMO for Starbucks and Apple and Nick Handel, President, McCann Worldgroup Southeast Asia, and APAC Regional Director for MRM.
Referring to the agency’s legacy, Bill Kolb, global Chairman & CEO, McCann Worldgroup. “APAC is a region of enormous significance for us as it encompasses the second and third largest advertising markets (China and Japan). Greater connectivity between the regions will lead to increased opportunities. We have some of our best talent in the network focused on APAC and I’m excited to see what the future holds.”
Commenting on Lubar’s elevation, Chris Macdonald, Chairman and CEO, McCann, said, “Alex has proven to be one of the most dynamic leaders in our industry and expanded upon the success of every region where he has held a leadership position. I know that Alex will elevate our award-winning operations for the McCann brand across North America to even greater success in providing creatively-effective solutions for our clients.”
Delighted on taking up the additional duties, Harfouche, said, “I consider myself fortunate to be working with the most innovative and creative global marketing network in McCann Worldgroup because they have been the greatest possible partner in building the most successful network of agencies in the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey,” “I look forward to seeing our network continue to grow in size and influence.”
Speaking about Watson, Bill Kolb, said,“Ji is central to the growth and expansion of our operations across APAC. Over the past two years, McCann Worldgroup Asia Pacific has placed increased focus on bolstering individual markets under strong local market leadership, as we leverage scale and expertise across the region to deliver the best possible solutions for our clients. Ji’s expertise in the Japanese market and her experience in leading our agencies in the region are critical to our success in APAC.”