Essence names Kyoko Matsushita as its new global CEO
Essence, the self-described data and measurement-driven media agency of WPP's GroupM, named Kyoko Matsushita as its new global CEO. She replaces Christian Juhl, who will become global CEO of GroupM on Oct. 1.
"Kyoko was one of the first significant hires I made at Essence," Juhl tells Ad Age. "She has incredible experience as a marketer; incredible international experience. I always had her on my short list for my succession plan."
Matsushita joined Essence in 2014 as CEO of the agency's APAC region. In May, she was promoted as Essence's first global chief client officer, a role that is unclear yet if she will fill. Matsushita is expected to name people to her executive team in the coming weeks, including a new APAC CEO.
Juhl says under Matsushita's watch, the APAC region became the highest growth market for the agency as well as had the highest employee retention rate. He says it's "rare" to find someone with both people and product skills, and expects her to continue to build on Essence's culture, business growth and chops in data, analytics and technology, while helping to "tell our story" globally.
Over the next 30 days, Juhl and Matsushita will work together in transitioning into their new roles. Matsushita will also work closely with the rest of Essence's global management team, including Chief Operating Officer Steve Williams, Chief Financial Officer Tony Santabarbara, Chief Strategy Officer Damian Blackden and Chief of Product Operations Rich Mooney.
Matsushita will remain based in San Francisco and report to Juhl.
"I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to lead this truly exceptional agency at a time when data and technology give us so much potential to unlock value for our clients," Matsushita adds.
Matsushita began her career in 1996 as a global client director for Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett and Starcom. She then went client side before returning to the agency world at Essence, holding marketing roles at companies such as Sony and Electronic Arts. As the APAC CEO, she is credited with driving the fastest regional growth in the Essence network, while establishing offices in Bengaluru, Delhi, Jakarta, Melbourne, Mumbai, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.