He has lived and worked in seven countries across three continents and counts New York, Singapore and Mumbai among his homes. Recently, he became the first global business director of DDB Worldwide (which includes 16 brands across skin care, oral care and women’s health) to be based in Asia. Meet the affable Kim Das, the transnational advertising network’s new global business head and president for emerging markets.
Das graduated from the University of Chicago and started his career with D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in New York. At D’Arcy Masius, he worked on various Procter & Gamble (P&G) assignments (Fixodent, NyQuil/Dayquil, Aleve and ThermaCare). In 1998, he was moved to Singapore in a regional capacity to oversee the P&G business across Southeast Asia. The very next year, he was elevated to the position of managing director of the Singapore agency, overseeing all operations.
His next stop was China in 2001. He went there to run D’Arcy Guangzhou and was soon entrusted with the task of overseeing the China operations as managing director. Before the year was complete, he moved to Saatchi & Saatchi as regional director to look after P&G (Crest, Safeguard and Ariel) in the Asia-Pacific. In July of 2005, Das was tapped to lead P&G’s pet nutrition business for North America and relocated back to New York with Saatchi & Saatchi after eight glorious years in Asia.
However, Asia left a lasting impression on Kim. So, when the opportunity to return cropped up, it took less than 30 seconds to make up his mind. Moreover, he was excited to join DDB, where an idea is truly bigger than an ad.
From 2006 to 2012, he served as vice-president and regional director for Asia-Pacific, with a specific agenda of driving the global business portfolio across Asia. He also served as president of emerging markets with a focus on growing its business in Indonesia and Vietnam.
“Working in so many different countries has an upside: You revel at the diversity of human life,” says Das. The downside, he says, is that one also gets to see what happens when clients don’t respect this diversity.