Filling the role Matthew Godfrey left in October, Foster will report to global president David Patton and be based in Singapore.
Foster was most recently president, global clients, for Publicis Groupe, based in New York City, but he is making a return to Asia. He spent four and a half years in Singapore with Saatchi & Saatchi starting in 2011, first as chairman and regional CEO for Asia Pacific and China and then as worldwide chief operating officer, until his move up to the Publicis Groupe level in September 2015.
Foster is an energising leader who brings extensive client expertise, deep knowledge of the region as well as a strategic global perspective to the position, Patton said in a release. "Chris’ success in Asia, as well as his track record of building strong, collaborative teams will be key to building upon our creative and strategic excellence, expanding our business capabilities and helping our clients grow their brands in the region and beyond," he added.
Foster expressed optimism about returning to the dynamic markets of Asia as part of Y&R. "Collectively the Asian economies are the strongest in the world at this time, and the enthusiasm for all things digital among consumers means there are enormous growth opportunities for local, regional and global clients," he said in a release. "I am looking forward to making an immediate impact and bringing my regional and global experience to bear on our clients’ brands and businesses."
This return to Asia is actually Foster's second return. He held various roles in Hong Kong and Japan with Saatchi & Saatchi between 1998 and 2005, prior to moving to the US to be CEO of Publicis-owned Fallon Minneapolis for three years. Earlier in his career he also worked with Leo Burnett and FCB.
Godfrey left Y&R in October after announcing his departure in April. He has joined Nutrition Innovation, a Singapore-based food science startup, as CEO.