Exec Search Firm Grace Blue Gets Ready For Asian Growth

by Larissa Faw

Asia is undeniably rising. In August, Arthur Sadoun, CEO of Publicis Worldwide said that Asia is a “strategic priority” for the network. MDC Partners reported in April that its China business grew more rapidly than expected or forecasted. And Omnicom continues to strengthen its Asia-Pacific footprint through acquisitions.

Now executive search firm Grace Blue is opening Grace Blue Asia to provide further support for this Asian expansion. Grace Blue Asia will concentrate on filling key leadership positions for communications companies, media, creative and advertising agencies.

“It used to be that agencies would import talent to head up their top Asian accounts, but now that the Asian marketplace has grown to become so important, they are seeking best-in-class local leadership,” says Jay Haines, North American CEO of Grace Blue. “They realize they need someone who understands the differences between Malaysia, Indonesia, China, and other regions that you can’t get by importing talent.”

The new office is located in Singapore, joining current Grace Blue locations in New York and London. Michael Maedel, former president of JWT Asia-Pacific will spearhead the new Asia office as Executive Chairman. Grace Blue London Partner Helen Duffy has relocated to the Singapore office. Haines expects the staff will grow from its current five to eventually around 20-25 employees.

“As we looked to build our Asian presence, we wanted someone who is an expert in the Asian market,” says Haines. “We believe that Michael and his team bring an unprecedented level of access and expertise in the region, and they will continue to offer our agency partners the extraordinary results they’ve come to expect from Grace Blue in New York and London.”

Meanwhile, Grace Blue continues to evolve beyond its core headhunter origin. This summer, the firm launched Liberty Blue, a new business venture that focuses on top talent in creative fields.