Seven execs leave WPP AUNZ including group client director Kate Walker and Wunderman Thompson MD Paul Everson

A host of executives have departed WPP agencies VMLY&R and Wunderman Thompson.

The departures include WPP AUNZ group client director Kate Walker and Paul Everson, managing director of Wunderman Thompson.

WPP AUNZ group client director Kate Walker has left the business

A WPP spokesperson confirmed Walker’s and Everson’s departures to Mumbrella: “WPP AUNZ group client director Kate Walker resigned in early July, after more than two-and-a-half years in the position, and a long history with WPP AUNZ. She has decided to travel and establish her next career move. We wish her well in any future endeavour.

“Paul Everson former managing director of J. Walter Thompson Sydney left following the merger of Wunderman and J Walter Thompson.”

WPP AUNZ has also confirmed the departure of Wunderman Thompson MD Paul Everson

Recently, Mumbrella reported that Carmel Williamson, former MD of WPP’s bespoke agency for Vodafone, Team Red, had filed a lawsuit against the holding company, citing harassment and unlawful dismissal. Both Everson and Walker have been named in the case, however, Mumbrella understands it is unrelated to the exits of both execs.

Additionally, head of strategy Carly Yanco departed the business in May after almost four-and-a-half years, starting out at J. Walter Thompson as a senior strategic planner. Yanco is now the head of brand at ING.

Creative agencies J Walter Thompson and Wunderman announced their impending merger last year. The merger, creating Wunderman Thompson, came into effect on 1 April this year.

In September last year WPP, announced it would be merging creative agency Y&R with digital agency VML to create VMLY&R. The merger resulted in the CEOs of VML and Y&R, Aden Hepburn and Pete Bosilkovski, respectively, coming together to run the new agency as co-CEOs.

In May, Bosilkovski left the business and was soon followed in June by Hepburn announcing his departure. As a result WPP named Jon Bird as VMLY&R CEO.

Since the departure of Hepburn and Bosilkovski four other VMLY&R execs have left the agency. Regional operations director Jeremy de Villiers left this month after just over a year with the business, becoming COO of marketing agency, Imperfect Circle.

Dave Di Veroli, who was promoted to head of strategy and innovation, has also departed. Di Veroli spent over six years with the business, starting out as senior digital strategist with VML and later moving up to strategy director.

VMLY&R has also felt the departure of Jeremy de Villiers, Dave Di Veroli, Tim Fletcher and Katie Dally

Head of platforms and experiences Tim Fletcher has also left the business. Fletcher started out at VML over six years ago as senior digital project manager, and later was promoted to head of strategy. Fletcher was also promoted to his last role in January.

And Katie Dally has also departed VMLY&R. Dally joined Y&R in August last year as general manager, and was promoted to managing partner of the merged agency in January.

The WPP spokesperson also told Mumbrella: “VMLY&R has also had a measured exit of a few people as it looks to further consolidate the agency post-merger and resource a fast-growing national offering. A clear plan has been developed with further details to come. As part of this process, and with Aden Hepburn leaving, a small number of staff have now opted to leave the organisation for other roles or to pursue other interests.

“As a result, VMLY&R is currently in the process of promoting from within, and hiring a range of new roles in line with Jon Bird’s vision of where he is taking the business, with announcements to be made soon. In the meantime, out of respect for those staff who have opted to leave, we have no further comment to make.”

Prior to Hepburn and Bosilkovski departing the agency, VMLY&R appointed Paul Nagy as chief creative officer.

In March, Brisbane ECD, Brendan Greaney, exited to launch his consultancy Exactly Different. The following month, ECD Bart Pawlak also departed to become an independent creative consultant. 


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