UM appoints Anathea Ruys as new CEO following Fiona Johnston’s departure

Anathea Ruys will become CEO of UM Australia in April, after four years spent as the managing director of Carat across the USA’s west coast and mid-west.

Last week, the Mediabrands agency announced Fiona Johnston would be leaving the market after four years as UM CEO to take up an international role at the holding company, based in London.

Ruys’ most recent role also involved her leading Dentsu’s west coast US office. The UM appointment is a return to Australia for Ruys, whose 25-year career has also involved stints as managing director of Mindshare Melbourne and head of Fuse, Asia Pacific –  Omnicom Media Group’s strategy, content, and activation division – based in Singapore. There, she was part of Omnicom Media Group’s APAC executive committee, and expanded Fuse’s network to an extra four countries.

Mediabrands’ CEO, Mark Coad, said that “leading UM Australia to its next chapter requires an executive with rare credentials”.

“Anathea was a stand-out media leader before leaving Australia to pursue her international career,” Coad said.

“Since then she has become a world-class talent in building collaborative, performance work cultures as well as business and team partnerships. She is the ideal CEO for UM’s future and will be a major contributor to the progress of the Mediabrands Australia group.”

Ruys has also spent time as managing director of Clemenger Harvie Edge, and managing director of Spark PR.

“I have long been a great fan of UM Australia. The agency has continually been a benchmark for industry performance, innovation and leadership,” she said of the new role.

“I am excited by the opportunity to join this talented team and to partner with the very impressive roster of clients to help drive their business growth.”

UM’s global CEO, Eileen Kiernan, added: “Anathea is a leader with incredible client focus, a reputation for collaboration and a proven track record of leading a winning culture. It’s the perfect recipe for UM and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome her to our family.”

Johnston’s promotion, meanwhile, sees her become chief growth officer of Mediabrands in a global capacity.

“I am sad to be leaving Coady and the team at such an exciting time for UM in Australia. It really is the best bunch of strong, amazing humans and I’m so proud to have been a part of our shared success,” Johnston said last week.

“Equally the opportunity to craft more of this globally is a great honour indeed. I am excited to work with the global and Europe team to help bring it to life, as I know only we can.”


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