Kantar acquires leading research company in first move since WPP spin-off

Research and consulting company Kantar has acquired fellow research company Colmar Brunton in its first move since it was spun off from WPP in December.

As part of the acquisition, Colmar Brunton, which specialises in sensory, customer and governmental research, will be fully integrated into Kantar and the brand retired in Australia.

Colmar Brunton’s CEO, Joan Young, will immediately relinquish that role to become global head of syndicated products for Kantar’s public division. Her job will be to scale Colmar Brunton’s offering globally, and she will report to global CEO of the division, Michelle Harrison.

The Colmar Brunton brand in Australia will be no more

A transition team will be responsible for the integration, led by Jon Foged, Kathy O’Donoghue, Ash Moore, Maree Taylor and Jenny Witham. Taylor and Witham will take on senior roles within Kantar’s insights division.

Rob McLachlan, formerly of WPP, will take on a one-year assignment as chair to help with the integration process, focused on financial, IT, HR and real estate.

All other management teams remain unchanged in the region, aside from reporting lines switching from WPP to Kantar.

Kantar acquired WPP’s data investment management division as part of the sale, which saw WPP pocket $150m. The other businesses as part of that division – The Oru, Lightspeed, Kantar Consulting and WPP AUNZ Consulting – will also be absorbed into the Kantar brand.

“We are all delighted to welcome such a talented group of people and experts into Kantar. The integration of Colmar Brunton and the addition of The Oru and Consulting expertise and teams and that of other teams into Kantar will make us a much stronger partner for our Australian clients,” Kantar CEO Eric Salama said.

“Kantar is unique in being able to answer the ‘what’ and ‘why’ questions of consumer behaviour, and these moves further enhance our capabilities. 2019 was a fabulous year in the region, and today’s announcement ensures a lot more of that to come.

“What’s more there are a number of areas where we will be able to export ideas, approaches and ways of working to other parts of the world for the benefits of clients.”

Kantar added that the acquisition will allow it to “understand people and inspire growth” for its clients, and emphasised the importance of giving clients the benefit of Colmar Brunton’s expertise globally.

At the time of the sale, WPP said offloading Kantar would allow the holding group to “take advantage of opportunities in line with the strategic plan to be developed by incoming CEO Jens Monsees“. Monsees began in the role in October, and has already begun to communicate his plan with WPP AUNZ CEOs and teams.

Colmar Brunton in New Zealand is a separate legal entity and will be unaffected by the acquisition.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.