As Worldwide Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy & Mather, Tham Khai Meng recently made history by leading the agency to win Network of the Year at Cannes for the second year running, while O&M Sao Paulo was awarded Agency of the Year. In the process of winning these titles, O&M broke another record by becoming the first network to win more than 100 Lions, with a haul of 155, including four Grand Prix. At the same time, his client, Coca-Cola, was named the Marketer of the Year at Cannes.
AdAge has called Khai ‘One of the world’s most influential people in the communication business.’
Khai’s story began at Central St Martins in London where he graduated with a BA First Class honors. This led to a scholarship to pursue an MA in Film at the Royal College of Art in London.
Upon completing his studies, Khai joined the advertising industry where he revealed an early aptitude for big brand work, first at Leo Burnett London and then Chicago; and later in Singapore with stints at McCann Erickson and Bateys. In 2000, he took over from Neil French as Regional Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather Asia Pacific and led them to win the Agency of the Year title for eight straight years. Following this, Khai took on the additional role of Co-Chairman Asia Pacific. He was also inducted into the Campaign Brief Hall of Fame during this time.
In 2009, Khai moved to New York to assume the role of Worldwide Chief Creative Officer. He now oversees the work of the entire Ogilvy & Mather worldwide network, including all of its global offices.
One of his first moves was to inculcate ‘Pervasive Creativity’ throughout the company, a concept he originated where everyone in the organization, regardless of title, has the responsibility to be creative.
As one of the most highly-awarded creative directors of his generation, Khai has served on numerous juries. He was President of both the Film and Press juries at Cannes in 2012 and has chaired juries at D&AD, One Show, the Clios, London International Advertising, Lynx, Adfest and Spikes.
A frequent speaker within the industry and beyond, Khai has spoken at the World Economic Forum, Advertising Week in New York and the Royal College of Art in London. He has also had the honor to teach at his alma mater, St. Martins in London. Currently, he sits on the board of the Future of Storytelling New York, the Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide Board and Executive Committee, and is Chairman of its Worldwide Creative Council. A lifelong supporter of the arts, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts in 2012.
After a lifetime of fighting fires (and starting a few too) Khai now lives in a historical 19th Century firehouse in New York City, a building that was once home to another ambitious creative when he first arrived in the city: Andy Warhol.