Former Enigma CEO pursues new venture after quietly exiting agency

Unbeknownst to the trade media, John Gutteridge made a quiet exit from his role as Enigma CEO in May this year, Mumbrella can reveal.

After a year with the agency, Gutteridge followed in the footsteps of many an advertising exec, taking a step back from the industry to focus on personal business pursuits.

During his time at Enigma, Gutteridge oversaw the agency’s rebrand, the appointment of several key senior positions, and the launch of a specialist property marketing division, amongst other achievements.

In a statement recorded by Enigma at the time, Gutteridge said: “I joined Enigma as the agency embarked on an ambitious journey of expansion and growth to its services, capabilities and clients. Having lead the transformation of the rebrand, agency structure and proposition, and helped grow its client base, I feel it is the right time to leave the business. I look forward to watching the team go from strength to strength.”

Mumbrella understands that Enigma founder and director Lisa Sutton Gardener will continue to run the business, with no plans for the CEO role to be filled. She is supported by managing director of advertising, Jack Mason, and managing director of media, Justin Ladmore.

Gutteridge first joined Enigma in May 2022, following more than two decades at WPP, where he oversaw multiple restructures as CEO of J. Walter Thompson in ANZ and APAC, and later Wunderman Thompson ANZ. As of last week, the Wunderman Thompson name was retired, along with VLMY&R, in a merger that made way for the resurrection of the VML agency brand.

Since stepping down as Enigma CEO, Mumbrella understands Gutteridge has been pursuing his e-commerce startup MAWDE, which he launched in late 2020.

The self-proclaimed ‘sloungewear’ business creates clothing for sleeping, lounging and living in, differentiated by a commitment to quality and sustainability, with both design and manufacturing based in Sydney.

While Gutteridge is tight-lipped about his plans for the business, he told Mumbrella the new venture was “super exciting” and promised he would be sharing further details when the time was right.


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