VMLY&R Commerce CEO to step down, general manager duo to take lead

At the end of this month, VMLY&R’s CEO Sean Taylor will be stepping down from the role to focus on his other business interests, concluding a two-year succession planning process.

VMLY&R Commerce launched worldwide in January, combining the forces of Geometry and VMLY&R to become an end-to-end global creative commerce company. Its general managers Ben Walker and Kate Warren-Smith have taken the helm after being identified by Taylor as the “next generation of leaders”.

Sean Taylor, CEO, VMLY&R Commerce

Taylor said of his exit: “Walker and Warren-Smith have increasingly taken responsibility for the business over the last two years so this is a natural step. Personally, I’ve loved the challenge of building and growing businesses, initially on my own and then within WPP, but after 30 years in the industry working across a variety of leadership roles, it’s now time for me to utilise my experience in a more advisory capacity.

“Walker and Warren-Smith have proven themselves as outstanding leaders, and I look forward to seeing VMLY&R Commerce continue to emerge as a force in our market.”

Taylor officially leaves the VMLY&R Commerce office this month but will be on call to the team and clients until October.

VMLY&R Australia and New Zealand CEO, Thomas Tearle said: “Walker and Warren-Smith bring a wealth of experience in both local and international markets to their leadership roles. Walker has held a range of international executive positions in Activation, Shopper Marketing and Commerce for more than a decade – including a stint in Dubai for Geometry.”

VMLY&R Commerce general managers Ben Walker and Kate Warren-Smith

Warren-Smith is similarly experienced, having worked in London on major brands like Tesco, and has spent the last eight years building the Geometry business in Australia. Both will join VMLY&R Australia & New Zealand leadership teams.

Tearle added: “Commerce is a critical part of VMLY&R’s ‘Connected Brands’ proposition. To us, it’s about brand experience and customer experience working together, with commerce at the core.

“Taylor has done a great job nurturing Walker and Warren-Smith while growing a powerful business. I thank him for his contribution and have no doubt that Taylor will enjoy similar success in his new direction.”

VMLY&R is no stranger to joint leadership, with Pete Bosilkovski and Aden Hepburn working as joint CEOs when VML merged with Y&R in 2018.


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