John Steedman returns as chairman of WPP Media Services for Australia and New Zealand

Less than a year after he quit the GroupM CEO and chairman’s role, John Steedman is back, after Sir Martin Sorrell convinced him to take the newly-created chairman of WPP Media Services.

Steedman returns as chairman of WPP's Australian media agencies.

Steedman: Focus will be on getting agencies to work together but structure within the group will remain unchanged

Steedman’s new role will see him work with the group’s various media agencies – Maxus, MEC, Mindshare, Mediacom, Ikon and minority shareholding, Bohemia – on the over-arching business strategy. The appointment follows another recent appointment, to the WPP AUNZ board, earlier this month.

WPP AUNZ CEO Michael Connaghan praised Steedman’s return, saying: “John has an innate ability to get business cooperating for the benefit of clients. It’s what drove the success of GroupM under his stewardship, and will no doubt result in further growth across the newly-expanded media capability of WPP AUNZ.

“In addition to our large iconic media businesses, we have a number of smaller creative and media agencies spread across AUNZ who will benefit from having Steady’s experience available.”

The appointment comes just a week after former McDonald’s marketer Mark Lollback began in the role of GroupM CEO and it is expected that the two will work closely together.

Steedman said of his new position: “WPP AUNZ has some of the most outstanding media businesses in the region. As individual agencies they are already successful. Working even closer together they will be a force to be reckoned with. The wider group of agencies I have been asked to oversee represent some amazing specialists and wonderful growth opportunities.”

He also added that while a major focus would be on getting agencies to work together, the structure of the agencies within the group would remain unchanged.

“While we’ll be trying to achieve greater horizontality, it will be business as usual for the agencies as they look to continue their pattern of growth and outstanding client service.

“That means Ikon remains as is, GroupM remains as is, and other agencies also remain unchanged. What is different is the ability to drive collaborative opportunities for our clients across a greater breadth of capability.

Steedman’s new role is effective immediately.

Nic Christensen 


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