Elmwood Revamps Senior Leadership Team in Singapore with Trio of Key Hires

MSQ’s award-winning design agency appoints new leaders in creative, insight and client service to help design have more meaningful and memorable brands for their clients.

Elmwood, the global design consultancy, has made a number of major hires as it establishes its Singapore offer as one of the region’s leading design shops. 

The new look team will see industry heavyweights Rachel Goh, Lisa Balm and Kedar Karippail join Elmwood Singapore to help clients create more meaningful and memorable cultural connections. The trio will work closely with the existing agency senior team that already includes managing director Celeste Cheong, executive creative director Richard Stayte, creative director Jason Braddy, business director Saurabh Singh and group account director Kristinia Liu. 

Rachel Goh takes on the newly created role of head of insights, where she’ll be responsible for using data and strategic thinking to help brands craft compelling stories and produce more culturally relevant work. 

Rachel brings a unique combination of insight and copy writing to more closely connect cultural understanding and creativity at the agency. She was previously a partner at Innate Motion, where she delivered insights and empathy-powered strategies for global and local brands across FMCG, beauty, fashion, technology and e-commerce brands. 

Prior to that, Rachel was an associate creative director of Young & Rubicam Group in Singapore and had also been a writer at Leo Burnett and BBH Asia Pacific. 

Elmwood Singapore has also boosted its creative department with the appointment of Lisa Balm as creative director. 

The appointment marks Lisa’s second spell at Elmwood, having previously worked at the agency between 2012 and 2014. She began her career in the UK at Blue Marlin, before moving to Bangkok with the agency in 2004 and then joining Design Bridge in Singapore in 2007. Balm joins the agency from Innovation Kitchen, where she held an equivalent role. 

During her 20+ year career, Lisa has worked on brands including Citibank, Singtel, Diageo, LVMH and PepsiCo, and at Elmwood Singapore will work alongside Jason Braddy to lead a creative team of more than 25 designers, visualisers and production specialists. 

Completing the trio of new hires, Kedar Karippail joins Elmwood Singapore as the agency’s client services director. Kedar has over 20 years international brand and advertising experience working across India, New Zealand, Malaysia, Netherlands and the UK, for DDB, Geometry Global, Ogilvy & Mather and Y&R amongst others.

Kedar will work closely with Elmwood Singapore’s managing director Celeste Cheong on developing the agency’s overall growth and client strategy, building and maintaining relationships and working closely with Elmwood’s parent company, MSQ, to bring further specialist thinking into the Elmwood offer. 

Elmwood Singapore has doubled in size over the last three years to over 50 people, overseeing best-in-class design thinking for brands including Unilever, Danone, Kimberly-Clark, Heineken and Mars. The new-look agency was formed in December 2021 following a merger between Elmwood and Holmes & Marchant, after the former business was acquired by MSQ. 

Paul Galesloot, global CEO of Elmwood, says, “Elmwood was created to design meaningful & memorable brands in the multi-platform age. And to do that, you need a team of experienced, truly global, diverse thinkers with an in-depth understanding of insight, idea and iconicity, as well as a broad business and industry acumen. I’m delighted we’ve put together such a strong, new-look team for Elmwood Singapore, who collectively offer all the expertise required to produce distinctive, dynamic brand experiences that can succeed now and in the future.”

Celeste Cheong, managing director of Elmwood Singapore, says, “It’s a hugely pivotal time for Elmwood Singapore and design consultancies in general. So I’m delighted that we’ve found the very best talent to help take Elmwood Singapore to the next stage in our journey. I’m really excited to work alongside Rachel, Lisa, Kedar and the existing leadership team to be an invaluable partner to all our clients.”

This article first appeared on Little Black Book Online here.