Iris expands leadership team in Asia with new appointments and promotions

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Iris expands leadership team in Asia with new appointments and promotions

Iris Singapore has expanded its leadership team with three new hires and several senior promotions across creative and client services after winning Netflix, Sustenir and Rapid Rugby among other clients.


Daniel Cullen, joins as Client Service Director, a board level position, leading Iris’ client service team. Cullen was most recently heading up the global business for Vodafone at Santo in London, a WPP agency. Prior to this, he served as the GM of Publicis, Hong Kong heading up 70-person office in 2014. Cullen has also worked at Mullen Lowe in Singapore, managing Unilever and then at Ogilvy, Hong Kong where he ran the global Shangri-La business. He has also worked at BBH London where he was part of the Johnnie Walker team that won the IPA Effectiveness Grand Prix and Cannes Film Gold in the late 2000s.

John Marsden has been appointed Business Director at Iris Singapore to lead the agency’s anchor clients including Netflix, Marina Bay Sands and William Grant & Sons. He joins the agency from Wunderman in the UK where he managed Bose, Samsung, Nestle Purina and Coca-Cola among others. An expert in the spirits and alcoholic beverage category Marsden has led key business accounts including Ballantine’s, The Glenlivet and Royal Salute at Havas, UK as well as Singapore Airlines and Chivas Regal at TBWA Singapore and TBWA Shanghai. Marsden has also worked with luxury clients such as British Airways, Mini and Porsche during his time at M&C Saatchi in London.

Award-winning art director, Elvin Villar started his journey in Manila, where his work for Pfizer’s Energizer-Schick at JWT, won a Gold Outdoor Cannes Lion in 2013 – the first in the history of the Philippines. Villar has also worked with various FMCG accounts such as Johnson & Johnson’s, Del Monte Company, Kraft-Mondelez and alcohol brands such as Ginebra San Miguel and Red Horse beer. In 2017, Villar moved to Singapore as Senior art director at BBDO. A year later he took the role of Head of Design focusing on his craft as a design strategist while managing visual and creative work for Visa, Spotify, 3M, Franklin Templeton Investment, AIA Insurance, Tiger Beer and Exxon Mobil.

The senior promotions include Prema Techinamurthi, who is promoted to Business Director leading Samsung and Meat & Livestock Australia for the region. This is her second stint at Iris. In 2014, she led Iris’ Johnnie Walker and F1 sponsorship global account out of the Singapore office. With more than 12 years of agency experience and an aptitude for digital and data storytelling, Techinamurthi has worked at large network agencies such as Ogilvy, BBH and Bates141, managing global and APAC accounts for Tiger Beer, Vaseline, Mentos, and Chupa Chups. In her previous role as Group Account Director in Ogilvy, she was the integrated account lead for Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), National Museum of Singapore (NMS) and Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).

Sorcha John, managing director of Iris Singapore said, “Prema Techinamurthi will run the world one day, until that happens, I’m pretty pleased she’s a part of our leadership team, running Samsung & MLA. Her sharp intellect, exceptional experience and high standards set her apart”,

“Getting the opportunity to hire talented, globally minded and entrepreneurial creative people is really a privilege. They’re not easy to find, their quality is contagious & their impact huge – for both our clients and the agency. Iris’ deep-held belief in the power of integrated specialisms means we need a particular breed of talent with equal passion for craft, brand building & innovation. Daniel, John and Elvin are exactly that and I’m thrilled to have them in the team.”

Ed Cheong, Executive Creative Director added, “Fresh blood challenges the status quo and we’re so lucky to have Elvin join the creative family. His infectious energy and drive to keep pushing, have seen him hit the ground running. But more importantly, he is surrounded and supported by comrades who embody what it means to boss it daily.”

Photo caption: Photo caption: (Clockwise from LtoR) Elvin Villar, Diego Barboza, Vanessa Tan, Prema Techinamurthi, Jenson Lee, Daniel Cullen, Viraj Chouhan and John Marsden.