John Riccio Appointed President, Merkle Asia Pacific

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Riccio succeeds Zhengda “Z” Shen, who is retiring after 22 years with Merkle, five years with dentsu.

Merkle (, dentsu’s leading technology-enabled, data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company, has named John Riccio president of Merkle Asia Pacific (APAC), which includes Greater China, South-East Asia, India, as well as Australia and New Zealand (ANZ). He replaces Zhengda “Z” Shen, who has announced his retirement, effective July 1, 2022. 

As dentsu continues to pursue its ambition of being the most integrated agency network, this appointment is underpinned by multiple new hires, a clear marketing activation plan, and focused investment. The announcement comes after a year of significant simplification, capability integration, and investment across all key areas of the Merkle business in order to help solve its clients’ complex, enterprise-scale experience challenges with a focus on technology and data. 

With more than 25 years’ experience leading major digital businesses and strategic programs, Riccio is recognized as a specialist in helping clients transform the way they respond to market change and engage consumers. He is an expert at leveraging emerging technologies that support sustainable growth and scale, and he will play a critical role in leading the growth and evolution of Merkle APAC. He will continue in his existing role as CEO of Merkle’s ANZ region. Riccio has an extensive background leading customer experience consulting, most recently as experience consulting partner, APAC, for EY. Previously, he held partner positions at PwC in Australia and Asia, and at IBM in the United Kingdom.

“I am delighted to confirm John as president of Merkle APAC, as further proof of dentsu’s commitment to accelerating the growth and performance of our customer experience consulting, data, digital transformation, and B2B services across the region,” said Michael Komasinski, global CEO of Merkle. “John’s extensive regional and global leadership experience will further enable and drive growth and success in this critical region for the business.”

“Since joining Merkle, I have been impressed by the technical expertise and forward-thinking, agile approach the company takes in the experiences delivered to its clients and employees,” said Riccio. “I am excited to expand my ANZ role across the broader APAC region, supporting our clients who have entrusted us to create distinctly better experiences and relationships with their customers across all key technology platforms.” 

Riccio’s promotion coincides with the departure of Z Shen, who is retiring after more than two decades on Merkle’s executive leadership team. 

“Over the years, Z has played an integral role in the development of Merkle’s data and analytics capabilities, as well as our global operations,” said Komasinski. “In recent years, he was instrumental in driving Merkle’s global transformation and expansion, particularly in the APAC region, where he grew the business from USD$5 million in one market to USD$150 million across ten markets, with more than 2,000 employees. It has been a pleasure working with and learning from Z, and I want to personally thank him for his steadfast commitment to Merkle’s success and wish him much happiness in his retirement.” 

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For further information, contact:  

Karen Chang | Associate Communications Director, Dentsu APAC