Group M CEO Mark Lollback to leave WPP AUNZ

Group M CEO Mark Lollback is leaving the business this Friday after five years at the helm.

His departure is the latest major leadership change within WPP AUNZ, following the retirement of John Steedman, departures of Kieran Moore and David Fox, and movement of Jon Bird into an executive chair role for VMLY&R.

As CEO of Group M Australia and New Zealand, Lollback oversaw the integration of agencies Mindshare, MediaCom, Wavemaker and Essence, and the launch of industry-leading addressable TV business Finecast.

He joined after four and a half years as chief marketing officer for McDonald’s and his career has spanned stints as VP of marketing for Unilever and CMO for ANZ Banking Group.

Lollback said he was proud of the transformation Group M has achieved under his leadership, and noted he is looking to pursue independent board director positions.

“I’m extremely proud of what we have achieved over the past five years at Group M, and I leave the business in its rightful place as an iconic global brand with an enviable heritage in the Australia and New Zealand media landscape,” he said.

“Following more than 30 years working for some of the most respected multinational companies and brands across the globe, I have decided that it is time to return to where my heart is, into client-side marketing.

“I plan to work more closely with several innovative start-ups I have invested in over the last few years and use my experience and learnings to pursue independent board director positions.”

Lollback continued on to thank WPP AUNZ CEO Jens Monsees.

“I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank all the amazing and professional people I have had the pleasure to work with and lead over the years at Group M and WPP, and thank Jens Monsees for his leadership.”

WPP AUNZ is already in market for a replacement for Lollback as Group M CEO ANZ, and in the interim, APAC CEO Ashutosh Srivastava will be leading the business.

Monsees noted the significance of Lollback’s leadership through the challenges of the past year.

“Mark is a highly regarded industry leader, and on behalf of myself and the executive team we would like to thank him for his strong leadership through challenging times,” Monsees said.

“GroupM is a leading part of WPP AUNZ’s unique strategy of combining tech implementation and content creation with world-class media operations. I am excited to work with everyone across the business to continue build upon the group’s strong foundations, as we move into the next era of this successful story.”

Srivastava added: “AUNZ is a key focus in our strategic priorities across APAC and together we thank Mark for his leadership and contribution to that success story. On behalf of the GroupM’s global team we wish him the very best as we define the future of our operations across APAC and beyond.”

Lollback’s departure comes as WPP AUNZ enters the second phase of Monsees’ transformation plan. Monsees was brought into the holding company to boost efficiency and transform its capabilities with a focus on integrating data and tech into an end-to-end communications offerings for clients.

The first stage of Monsees plan, carried out last year, involved the introduction of a campus model into Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth in order to streamline the IT, finances and HR. He also announced his intention to install a new leadership structure, and add capabilities through mergers and acquisitions.

After announcing his intention to consolidate the number of agency brands in the group in 2020, WPP AUNZ acquired Perth agency Meerkats, and began the mergers of AKQA with White Grey and Ikon, as well as Geometry joining VMLY&R as VMLY&R Commerce. The mergers, which are expected to continue this year, are a reflection of Monsees’ effort to bolster and diversify the capabilities of WPP’s businesses.


This year, WPP AUNZ’s goal is to scale client relationships across the group, providing them with seamless business solutions from tech and data implementation, through to media executed by Group M, creative content, and specialty services.

The business is also looking towards offshoring opportunities in order to grow its presence in Asia, and roll out the campus model in Sydney and Melbourne in custom-built facilities currently under construction.

The ongoing takeover bid from WPP plc is also active. Yesterday, an update provided to the ASX announced that the New South Wales Supreme Court had approved a WPP AUNZ shareholder meeting on 21 April to consider and vote on the bid.

The offer with shareholders is $0.70 per share, giving WPP AUNZ an implied enterprise value of $717 million.


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