GroupM’s Essence appoints James Smyllie & Lee Walsh as Vice Presidents

Essence, a global data and measurement-driven media agency which is part of GroupM, has announced the appointment of James Smyllie as VP, Media Planning, APAC, and Lee Walsh as VP, Media Activation, APAC. Smyllie and Walsh will be based out of Singapore. 

In his role, Smyllie heads up Essence’s integrated media planning offering across APAC. His expertise is in the areas of innovation, change management and client leadership across sectors, including technology, finance, luxury, travel and automotive. With 17 years of media industry experience and a proven track record in developing award-winning strategic media campaigns, Smyllie was previously International Client President at Carat. 

Walsh is responsible for leading Essence’s media activation team in APAC, covering programmatic, search, social, as well as reservation media across both online and offline channels. Alongside overseeing media buying and optimisation for all clients in the region, he plays a key role in driving data-led media partnerships and innovation for the agency. With over 18 years of media industry experience, Walsh was most recently Regional Managing Director at NewBase.

Read more:GroupM rolls out INCA; connects brands, publishers & influencers to drive content 

“The investments by Essence in people, tools and processes are really very impressive, making it unquestionably the media agency best set up to help clients grow their businesses in the new economy. I am excited to be working with the talented team here,” shared Smyllie. 

“Over the last few years, I have watched Essence build a reputation as one of the smartest-thinking agencies in the region. I am delighted to be a part of the team and help Essence continue its growth across APAC,” said Walsh. 

“As Essence continues its growth ambitions in APAC, we are thrilled to have James and Lee lead our Media Planning and Media Activation practices, respectively. They are both seasoned leaders, with great depth of expertise in their practices and breadth in their industry experience. James and Lee will be tremendous assets to our agency and our product offering to clients,” said Kunal Guha, Managing Director, Central Asia and Head of Product, APAC

These additions to Essence’s APAC leadership team further strengthen the agency’s skills and capabilities in line with its product vision and business development plans, as the agency continues its rapid growth across the region.


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