End of an era: WPP AUNZ to exit ASX at end of business today

In May 2016 STW Group and WPP received the final tick of approval from shareholders to merge, thus eliminating the STW name from the Australian media and advertising landscape.

At the time, the $512 million takeover by WPP was being billed as a “merger of the two businesses”. Almost 432 million shares in STW were assumed by WPP, creating a new business to be known as WPP AUNZ.

Today, the legacy of STW and WPP AUNZ ends, with WPP AUNZ to be delisted from Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) “from the close of trading on Wednesday, 19 May 2021”. STW was first floated as John Singleton Advertising in 1993. It later became Singleton Tate WPP (STW) Group after the initial buy in by WPP.

At the time of the deal, the last link to Singleton’s STW was retired, to make way for WPP AUNZ. Then STW chairman Robert Mactier, and most recently WPP AUNZ chairman, said that the transaction “represented a major opportunity for the newly aligned business”.


What has transpired in the years in between has been significant. Most notably the mergers and amalgamations of agency brands, and more recently significant changes in leadership.

The million dollar question on everyone’s lips at the moment is what is to become of Jens Monsees, the current CEO of WPP AUNZ, who filled the role following Mike Connaghan resignation after 12 years in the job.

Monsees was paid $2.4 million in 2020, including $1.4 million of his $1.5 million fixed annual remuneration, $400,000 in other benefits and $640,000 in vested LTI value. The former BMW and Google executive is understood to be happily settled in Australia, with no plans to return to his homeland Germany in the near future.


Many within the group and the industry at large expect Monsees to be replaced once the dust settles by a country manager on a pay lower than what Monsees has received as the head of an ASX-listed entity.

Speaking to Mumbrella at the time of the  latest shareholder vote, Mactier said no decisions about the senior leadership team have been set in stone and reiterated that the business under Monsees’ leadership has achieved “great success in financially turning its financial situation around” against the backdrop of COVID-19.

WPP UN reported revenues of $612.3 million in 2020.

For now, the key challenge will be further integration of the Australian and New Zealand operations with the rest of the global behemoth.


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