Not content with taking on his former WPP agencies in Europe, Sir Martin Sorrell has revealed plans that his newly formed S4 Capital has plans for the Asia-Pacific region – and Australia – too.
Yesterday it was announced that Sorrell had snared Michel de Rijk (main photo) to head S4’s APAC drive.
De Rijk was the former global chief growth officer of GroupM’s Performance Media Group (PMG) and is based in Singapore.
It is the first time that Sorrell has openly recruited senior talent from WPP.
Starting early next year, De Rijk will be based in Singapore and take operational responsibility for the APAC operations of all S4 Capital-owned businesses across the three key areas of digital content, digital media planning and buying, and first-party data.
His key focus will be the expansion of the businesses in the region, organically and by acquisition.
S4 Capital’s first move, MediaMonks, operates in the region from its Singapore and Shanghai offices and plans to expand in China, India, Australia and Japan.
Sorrell said of the appointment: “I’m delighted to welcome Michel to S4 Capital. He has the network and the skills to help MediaMonks and all of our future businesses in the region maintain impressive growth, while identifying further opportunities to grow by acquisition. No one could be more qualified to represent the S4 Capital difference.”
De Rijk added: “Our industry is in the middle of a revolutionary change, and relationships between brands, agencies, consultancies and media owners will be re-forged. Brands want solutions that give them ownership, but that are of the highest quality and informed by deep experience.
S4 Capital will be able to operate in exactly the areas to fulfil these needs. I’m looking forward to setting the pace for the industry with Sir Martin, Victor and Wesley, and the rest of the team.”
De Rijk’s appointment will no doubt inflame already tensions between Sorrell and WPP, the business he formally owned.
In July, Sorrell’s S4 snared the Dutch digital company MediaMonks for $472 million, outbidding WPP in the process.
Following that, WPP accused Sorrell of breaching a non-compete in the sale of MediaMonks and threatened to withhold $36 million in bonuses Sorrell was promised when he left the business abruptly in April this year.
When Sorrell left WPP under a cloud of personal misconduct it was deemed he’d retired and would be paid the $36 million over the next decade based on payouts relating to share awards.
The 74-year-old Sorrell had previously said that he would not compete against WPP, however, industry commentators think that is highly unlikely due to his competitive nature.
Sorrell has labelled his next venture as a “next generation” advertising group and is reportedly building a £1 billion ($A1.8 billion) war chest from investors to start and future-proof the project.