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GroupM appoints Arshan Saha as CEO of GroupM Nexus APAC

GroupM, WPP’s media investment group, has unveiled a roster of C-suite appointments in Asia Pacific who will lead the regional transformation of GroupM Nexus – the global performance organisation

Arshan Saha

GroupM, WPP’s media investment group, has unveiled a roster of C-suite appointments in Asia Pacific who will lead the regional transformation of GroupM Nexus – the global performance organisation that unites the network’s performance talent and technologies into one single outfit.

Arshan Saha, the former CEO of Xaxis and Specialty Businesses APAC, has been appointed as CEO of GroupM Nexus APAC.

Jon Thurlow, in addition to his corporate remit as COO of GroupM APAC, has been appointed as COO of GroupM Nexus APAC. Moreover, Deepika Nikhilender, the former Senior Vice-President of Xaxis APAC, has been appointed as CEO of Xaxis APAC. Lastly, Brett Poole has been appointed the CEO of Finecast APAC and AUNZ. Poole was earlier serving as the Managing Director of Finecast Australia.

Saha said, “GroupM Nexus is a cross-channel performance-led organisation that unites our expertise in service excellence, AI-technology and the most advanced solutions. This is the future of marketing, and we are poised to offer our clients and agencies the most powerful performance engine that will accelerate their growth. I’m honoured to be working alongside some of the world’s best specialists at GroupM Nexus to collectively cultivate a better media ecosystem.”

A founding member of Xaxis APAC, Saha rose through the ranks to become Asia-Pacific CEO of Xaxis and GroupM’s data-driven specialty businesses including INCA, Finecast, Sightline and Acceleration. For over a decade, he led the expansion of Xaxis – an AI-powered programmatic engine – into 16 markets and multiplied its revenue by 20-fold.

As the Chief Operating Officer of GroupM Nexus APAC, Jon Thurlow will be driving the transformation of Nexus alongside Arshan.

One of the region’s most accomplished practitioners across the breadth of the network’s business, Thurlow architected the consolidation of GroupM’s search, social, commerce, programmatic, and addressable practices in Asia Pacific. For almost three years, he oversaw the complex integration of inter-network systems and structures across 16 markets into a unified campaign delivery platform. 

Thurlow said, “I’m very excited about the launch of GroupM Nexus across the region. Building on the success of the past years, the expanded service and solutions offering that GroupM Nexus will create, represents a wonderful opportunity to deliver genuine market-leading innovation and produce a positive business impact for our clients. For our people, it unlocks new career pathways in data, technology and practices, giving them immense scope for new learning and development experiences.”  


Xaxis – GroupM’s outcome-driven programmatic brand – has promoted Deepika Nikhilender to the Chief Executive Officer role at Xaxis APAC. With over two decades of marketing and data science experience, Nikhilender steered Xaxis’ AI and machine-learning ambitions in the region, while leading the design of marketing solutions, supply strategy, trading and operations excellence, as well as ad-tech and platforms strategy.

Nikhilender said, “I’m thrilled to embark on this exciting challenge to lead Xaxis APAC into new frontiers where we can break new ground for our clients and agencies with our A.I. differentiated initiatives and solutions. With the digital ecosystem evolving at an unparalleled pace, Xaxis’ armoury of data intelligence and outcome-driven technologies will help future-proof our clients’ businesses. Together with the team, I look forward to cultivating a culture where our talents will continue to thrive as well as strengthening Xaxis’ capabilities to achieve our clients’ desired outcomes.”

Completing the Nexus APAC leadership line-up, Bret Poole has been appointed the Chief Executive Officer of Finecast APAC and AUNZ.

With over two decades of experience in product development, tech commercialisation, publishing and advertising platforms, Poole has launched and built profitable businesses across native advertising (plista), data tech (mPLATFORM), programmatic trading (Xaxis), and most recently, spearheaded television transformation in Australia where his team grew the Finecast brand to become synonymous with Addressable TV and TV innovation.

Poole said, “I’m thrilled to be given the opportunity to continue growing Finecast across APAC as part of GroupM Nexus. Television is experiencing tremendous metamorphosis throughout the world and there is huge potential to further our TV transformation efforts in APAC which is well-known for its diversity, talent and innovative spirit – all the things that are close to my heart. I look forward to working closely with Nexus APAC leaders to build on the outstanding work of our Finecast APAC team.”

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