Singaporean Tham Khai Meng Let Go As Ogilvy & Mather’s Global Chief Creative Officer With Immediate Effect

Yes, this is as high profile of a breakup as it gets.

Ogilvy worldwide’s Chief Creative Officer Tham Khai Meng has been “let go from the role with immediate effect”.

This came in a shock announcement on Thursday (12 Jul), via an internal memo in which CEO John Seifert explained the rationale.

The global ad giant had allegedly amassed complaints “major enough to employ legal counsel for investigation”.

A review of investigation findings subsequently found Mr Tham’s behaviour a “clear breach of [its] company values and code of conduct”.

Alleged employee complaints “surrounding his behaviour”

As to who these complaints originated from, the memo details that employees allegedly called out “his behaviour”.

This warranted an official investigation to be opened into the matter.

CEO John Seifert’s memo also reaffirmed that “no individual” was “too senior or too important”, not to be “held accountable for their actions”.

Who is Tham Khai Meng?

An Anglo-Chinese School alumnus, Tham Khai Meng’s bio describes him as the one of the “world’s most awarded creative directors”.

Much of Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific’s achievements have also been credited to Mr Tham, with Campaign Brief Asia awarding him “Creative Director of the Year” for 7 years running (2001-2008).

He’s also on advisory and creative councils for big brands like Facebook and Twitter.

Locally, he’s done stints with the National Arts Council (2003-2006), Ministry of Communications and Arts (2002-2004).

And continues to serve in various positions at these ministries:

  • Urban Redevelopment Authority Board
  • Ministry of National Development (2006)
  • Singapore Land Authority Board (2008-2010)
  • Ministry for Law (2008)

His charitable efforts include supporting the Singapore Hospice Council in palliative care for the terminally ill.

Mr Tham is currently married with two sons, one of whom served his NS in Military Intelligence.

Ogilvy refuses to comment further

Leading marketing publications like Mumbrella Asia and Marketing Interactive have stated that they’ve approached Ogilvy for further comment on the matter.

However, they both have not received any responses on the alleged firing of Mr Tham.

What’s going on?

Well, rumours are swirling online with regards to the sudden departure of Mr Tham from Ogilvy.

But we think it’s a real pity that such a talented man was removed with immediate effect, from such a high position.

What do you think is the reason for the shock announcement? Sound out in the comments below.

Featured image from Tham Khai Meng on Facebook.