Jon Bird takes reins at VMLY&R as Aden Hepburn steps down

WPP AUNZ has named Jon Bird as head of VMLY&R Australia and New Zealand after current CEO Aden Hepburn announced he would step down.

Currently VMLY&R’s global chief retail and commerce officer, Bird moved to the US in 2014 to take the role of managing director, retail and shopper of Labstore, Y&R’s global retail and shopper marketing practice.

Bird returns to Australia after five years in the US with VMLY&R’s retail practice

Hepburn was appointed managing director of VML in 2012 and became joint CEO alongside Y&R boss Pete Bosilkovski when the two agencies were merged to create VMLY&R in September last year.

Bosilkovski stepped down from the joint role in March, leaving Hepburn as head of the combined agency.

Bird was a founding partner and ultimately executive chairman of retail marketing agency IdeaWorks, the agency Hepburn himself was recruited from. Bird also served as director of retail marketing for M&C Saatchi in Sydney.

Hepburn, who is taking a break from the business after Bird takes over in early July, said: “I’ve had the most amazing time, loved every minute with the Group, and couldn’t be prouder of our collective achievements. I leave the business in great shape and am excited to see what VMLY&R can do from here – the positioning, capability and promise of the agency is powerful.”

WPP AUNZ interim CEO John Steedman added: “We’re thrilled to have someone of Jon’s caliber join the ANZ team.

“Jon’s global experience and network connections, teamed with his deep local knowledge and digital prowess, makes him the ideal choice to lead VMLY&R ANZ as it moves into the next phase of growth.”

VMLY&R Global CEO Jon Cook commented: “Jon Bird is an exceptional leader, and a champion for breakthrough ideas. We’re excited to have him at the helm of this key market and as a member of the VMLY&R global leadership team.”

Cook also recognised Hepburn’s 15-year commitment to the business, saying: “I chose Aden to open the doors of VML in Australia in the first place. He built an incredible company and has led award-winning and transformational work across some of the world’s best brands. I thank Aden and wish him all the best for the future.”


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