Ogilvy fires global chief creative officer Tham Khai Meng after investigation found his behaviour was breach of company's values, code of conduct

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Ogilvy has fired its worldwide chief creative officer Tham Khai Meng after an investigation concluded that his behaviour was a breach of the company's values and code of conduct.

According to an internal memo from John Seifert, Chief Executive, Ogilvy Worldwide:

Two weeks ago, I was informed of employee complaints regarding the behavior of Tham Khai Meng, Chief Creative Officer of The Ogilvy Group.

I found these complaints serious enough to appoint external legal counsel to investigate the matter.

After carefully reviewing the investigation's findings with several of my partners, we concluded that Khai's behavior was a clear breach of our company values and code of conduct. I have decided to terminate Khai's employment with the company with immediate effect.
Each year, we ask every employee in the company to read, authorize, and fully commit to a code of conduct that each of us is responsible for living up to. Over the past 70 years, we have institutionalized shared values and a standard of professional behavior unique to the Ogilvy brand.

This is an important moment to reaffirm that no individual in this company is too senior or too important not to be held accountable for their actions.

Thank you for your support.

John Seifert
Chief Executive, Worldwide

Tham Khai Meng's fall from grace is bound to shake the Ogilvy network, having led Ogilvy to Cannes Network of the Year in 2016, for a record fifth year in a row.

Khai obtained a BA at Central Saint Martins, and an MA from The Royal College of Art, London. Khai made his first professional mark at Leo Burnett in London and Chicago, before heading to Singapore and progressing to Batey. While there, his work on Singapore Airlines catalyzed Batey's emergence as a regional leader.

In 2000, Khai served as Regional Creative Director and Co-Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather's Asia Pacific network. This culminated in a seven year run from 2001 to 2008 as Campaign Brief Asia's number one Network of the Year. Khai was awarded Creative Director of the Year for those seven straight years.

Khai joined Ogilvy & Mather's Worldwide Board in 2005, when Media magazine named him "Regional Head of the Year" in Asia Pacific. In 2009, Khai assumed the duties of Worldwide Creative Director and Chairman of the Worldwide Creative Council at Ogilvy & Mather's New York City headquarters.

Khai's career building global brands has received honors from clients and every major award show around the world, including Cannes, D&AD, The One Show, Clios, and London International Awards. He has also chaired the jury panels for these shows. Khai has served on numerous boards including his current appointment to Agencies in Action in New York, a nonprofit coalition working to alleviate hunger. He was asked by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to sit on his Economic Review Committee, a think tank tasked with finding a strategic direction for Singapore as it migrated from a manufacturing to knowledge-based economy. In December 2009, Khai accepted the President's Award, one of the country's most distinguished honors, conferred by Singapore President S. R. Nathan.

3 Comments

Times are a changed said:

Then:
Creative Director is a$$hole.
Has a vision to be the best.
Makes the creatives work all hours and nothing is ever good enough.
Creatives break through the talent gap.
Agency gets famous.
Creatives win awards and get pay rises.
Creative Director is held up as a hero.

Now:
Creative Director is a$$hole.
Has a vision to be the best.
Makes the creatives work all hours and nothing is ever good enough.
Creatives break through the talent gap.
Agency gets famous.
Creatives win awards and get pay rises.
Creative Director gets fired for being and a$$hole.

And the... said:

...moral of the story? Don't be an a$$hole.

Really said:

Greatness and a$$holes, a trend, like hipsters that we would all be better off the see the a$$ of.

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