Joji Jacob, Rowena Bhagchandani, Khalid Osman + Lester Lee leave DDB Group Singapore to form new independent agency - Blk J

Rowena Bhagchandani, Joji Jacob, Khalid Osman, Lester Lee.jpgIn a big move in Singapore four of DDB's top talent, Rowena Bhagchandani (Managing Director), Joji Jacob (Group Executive Creative Director), Khalid Osman and Lester Lee (Creative Directors), left the agency to launch Blk J, an independent creative agency.

Blk J's stated ambition is to become the partner of choice for the best brands of the new economy. Between the four founders, they have proven capabilities of telling stories that create conversations and conversions.
Part of the creative renaissance at DDB Singapore, the foursome has won a record tally of 24 Cannes Lions in the last 7 years, including 10 Lions for StarHub. The winning partnership has created works like Home by Homes, 4G4Good and Majulah Moms, winning StarHub three IAS HOF Brand of the Year awards. StarHub is also in contention for Brand of the Year again at the upcoming HOF Awards.

Commenting on their decision to go independent, Jacob, Co-founder and Creative Partner, Blk J, said, "The marketplace and media are getting increasingly complex. Blk J is really four people coming together to do one thing well. Solve business problems in as many ways as possible with as few buzzwords as we can. We are also thankful to DDB for giving all four of us the greatest of opportunities during our time here and for supporting us as we go independent."

"We believe there is place for the small and nimble in the market today. Agile agencies that can help brands navigate a landscape that is changing in real-time. We may have sixty years of experience combined but this is day one for us and we are raring to go," added Rowena, Co-Founder and CEO, Blk J.

David Tang, CEO of DDB Singapore & Asia said, "This is DDB at its very best in creativity and humanity. We believe in a collaborative world where we must encourage and support our very own talent to grow and thrive, even to give them the wings to soar. We wish Blk J the strength and stamina to stay adventurous and stay dedicated."

Working in partnership with DDB Worldwide, Blk J will continue to service and grow the multi-award-winning account, StarHub and take to high-profile creative accounts.

Jacob, is one of Asia's most awarded and respected creative directors. He has been the group executive creative director of DDB for the last seven years and in his career so far has spent over 20 years with some of the biggest and best agencies in India and Singapore like FCB, Ogilvy, JWT, BBDO and DDB. Jacob also has filled an additional role in DDB as Head of DDB Asia's Creative Council.

Since he took over, DDB Group Singapore has become one of the most awarded agencies at every important award show. DDB Group was also judged Agency of the Year at the Marketing Awards, at the Singapore Hall of Fame Awards and by Campaign Magazine. Jacob himself has been named Singapore's Most Influential Creative Director by the Institute of Advertising Singapore and South East Asia's Creative Person of the Year by Campaign two years in a row.

He has judged at most of the global awards show and in June this year served as President of the Print & Publishing jury at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

DDB has also announced today the new team to lead the Singapore agency. This includes Chris Chiu who joins DDB Group in the chief creative officer role after just 5 months at J Walter Thompson Singapore.

Photo caption L-R above: Rowena Bhagchandani, Joji Jacob, Khalid Osman, Lester Lee.

10 Comments

Justin Drape said:

Yes!
All the best with the next chapter Joji.

Good luck said:

Wow, big news
Great people!
Congrats to Joji Kalid Lester and Rowena. Big step but these things are alway very exciting and you guys are certain to succeed. Kudos to David and DDB for the way they seem to be handling the loss of 4 loved staff.

Douglas Faudet. said:

I wish the new agency joy and success. I am sure the famous four will excel. Joji enjoy the new adventure

Wasn't expecting that! said:

Wow!

Spin Doctor said:

Congratulations to the guys, and wish them all the best.

This has got to be a really REALLY good damage control / press release. Says everything and nothing at the same time. Other than Joji, Rowena and team just hit the lottery.

JD said:

Same office space, same planners and suits, same systems, same support infrastructure…..yet a new agency philosophy….well, they must think clients are all dumbos.

Some sort of an accounting arrangement at best.

More to come said:

You ain't seen nothing yet.

Seems anybody can be a legend these days said:

Read somewhere they are compared to be the next Droga5, Sydney perhaps.

DT said:

david is this your chess move to get singtel

Suits will be Suits said:

Months on and BLK J are still sharing desks with DDB. They don't pay their own bills and they don't pay their own payroll and rent. Let's all just admit that these guys are another Red Card or Tequilla. Think Droga5 would ever sit inside of a department on Publicis NYC? We think NOT. David Tang is still running it all. Good on you David.

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