Earlier this month, there was a significant change in the Aegis Media APAC structure, when the agency announced that Patrick Stahle, who has held numerous roles within Aegis Media since 1995 – the latest being the CEO, Aegis Media APAC – has decided to retire from the industry to pursue a non-executive career.
Currently, CEO, EMEA for Mindshare, Nick Waters, who has previously served as Mindshare’s CEO, Asia-Pacific, would take on Stahle’s role. The changes would be effective second quarter of 2010.
In a prepared statement, Jerry Buhlmann, CEO, Aegis Media, said: “We are sad to say goodbye to Patrick, who has served Aegis Media with distinction in a number of senior roles. His contribution to our business in Asia-Pacific in the last few years has been exceptional, and he leaves a very strong platform for Nick and the senior management team to build on. Patrick will leave large shoes to fill, but we could ask for no better successor to Patrick than Nick.”
Stahle would be involved in the India operations along with the rest of APAC portfolio till March 2010. In an exclusive conversation with exchange4media, he speaks on his future plans and Aegis’ progress in India. Stahle informed that following his exit from Aegis Media, he would be operating as an independent. He explained, “Like a consultant, like an executive on the boards of companies, that kind of a role.”
Aegis Media in India
Aegis Media’s journey in India has not been simple, but Stahle is happy with the progress. He said, “From where we were a couple of years ago, to where we are today – we have a good solid product and good people, and we have a broad set of services working well in India. Posterscope is doing brilliantly and Isobar will also do well in India. We took the chance to launch Vizeum because there was an opportunity for it too.”
Stahle also spoke on the Communicate2 deal and was candid in citing the reasons on why Aegis had not closed that deal despite having announced it in mid-2008. He said, “I can’t talk about it, but it is taking time. While doing an acquisition, a lot of things need to be clarified and you must also understand that these discussions had begun in a completely different economic environment, and even though India has managed quite well, it is still a completely different economic environment.”
Another development that benefitted Aegis Media’s media brand Carat globally, but did not benefit it in India, was the Nokia win. Stahle emphasised that Aegis’ conversations with Nokia were not meant to be commented on. He said, “That is a discussion that we are having with Nokia and it would not be fair for me to comment on it in any form. It is a big move for Nokia to consolidate with any one agency, and it was a brave and good decision. We also respect that in some markets we have to wait.”
Is Aegis preparing to handle Nokia in India? “Yes, of course, that is the part of the deal,” replied Stahle.
More Roadblocks to Overcome
In the last couple of years, Aegis Media has grown in India. However, just as the agency was sorting out its internal problems, the recession posed a new set of challenges. Stahle observed, “To be fair, the roadblocks we had earlier were more internal in nature. We sorted them out and I am very proud of the organisation that we have in India, and the ambition of people in India. So, the roadblocks that we are now looking at tearing down are external roadblocks, which are more connected to the economy. But you cannot do that without sorting out your own house. I feel that now we have a structure in India that can support global businesses and can win their own local businesses as well.”
It is another six months before Stahle quits his APAC, and hence India responsibility, but he would be popular as one of the Aegis leaders whose decisions brought Aegis Media’s back on track in India.