VMLY&R Sydney suffers more departures, including regional CFO Rachel Naughton and regional head of retail Danny Lattouf

A further 11 employees have departed WPP AUNZ’s VMLY&R, including regional CFO Rachel Naughton, regional head of retail Danny Lattouf, and managing partner Miles Scott. All 11 employees were based in the Sydney office.

A statement from WPP AUNZ said it was on a ‘talent upgrading’ mission: “Agency movements are part of the ebb and flow of the business. VMLY&R won’t be commenting on these departures, given many of them are old news, having taken place over a period of many months for many reasons. At least one was a freelancer.”

It continued: “VMLY&R is far more focused on the future. Under new regional CEO Jon Bird, the agency has embarked on a measured restructure and a ‘talent upgrading’ strategy. This has resulted in a raft of promotions to recognise and foster talent from within; transfers being identified from VMLY&R in the U.S., with at least one executive set to start in January; and key hires being made, which began with new regional HR director Lucy Wilson. More senior appointments will be announced shortly.”

Regional CFO Rachel Naughton, regional head of retail Danny Lattouf and managing partner Miles Scott have departed VMLY&R

VMLY&R is the resulting agency of the merger between agencies VML and Y&R, which was announced last year and came into effect at the start of 2019.

The merger installed Y&R CEO, Pete Bosilkovski and VML CEO, Aden Hepburn, as co-CEOs of the new agency. Bosilkovski departed in May and Hepburn soon followed in June, leaving Jon Bird to take over.

A source close to the agency, who requested anonymity, told Mumbrella that Hepburn’s role quickly changed after the merger and that the leadership team which came into the merger with Hepburn from VML, quit after he announced his resignation. Several staff underneath the leadership followed suit in solidarity, Mumbrella understands.

Naughton was at Y&R for seven years before the merger, starting out as group finance director before being promoted to regional CFO.

Lattouf joined VMLY&R’s Ideaworks in 2015 as managing director. He became regional head of retail in June 2017 and worked with the VMLY&R offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and the Y&R offices in Auckland and Wellington.

Scott spent over seven years with VML and then VMLY&R. He started out in 2012 as a senior digital producer, and held roles including regional program manager and executive producer. In January, Scott was promoted to managing partner.

Jackson Alsop, Mark Berry and Ruth Hatch have also departed the agency

Experience director Jackson Alsop, design director Mark Berry and group business director Ruth Hatch are also amongst the departures.

Hatch joined the agency in September last year from TBWA. Berry started out at VML in 2012 as senior art director, and became design director in 2015.

Alsop was a member of VML, starting out in 2016 as UX designer and later became UX lead. Following the merger, he was promoted to experience director.

Louella Campbell has also left the business as executive producer. Campbell had been with the agency since 2017 and was previously working at the WPP AUNZ-owned The White Agency – now part of White Grey.

Project director, Ellie Jameson, departed the agency in August, after four years. She has moved onto a role with as a project director.

Alice Fisher spent just over a year with VMLY&R as content producer. She left the agency in September to join Spark 44 as senior integrated producer.

Senior experience director, James Winchester, left the agency in July. He is now working at Qantas as senior experience director.

Julia Banning has taken up a role within WPP AUNZ as connections manager, after eight months as chief of staff at VMLY&R.

This latest group of departures follows the August exits of regional operations director Jeremy de Villiers, head of strategy and innovation Dave Di Veroli, head of platforms and experiences Tim Fletcher, and managing partner Katie Dally, and chief growth officer Peter Collins, associate strategy director Bryan Wilmot, and head of people and culture Tara Jackson, which emerged in September.

Lucy Wilson was appointed as HR director for VMLY&R Australia and New Zealand in September. The agency has also recently brought on Kirsty Robinson as head of experience in the Brisbane office and Craig Page as head of planning.

Jon Bird commented to Mumbrella: “I’m thrilled with the depth of talent we have at VMLY&R, the excitement in our global network about our Australian offering, and the interest from the market at large. We have momentum and I am really pleased with the progress.”

Mumbrella has reached out to Naughton, Lattouf, Scott, Alsop, Berry, Hatch, Campbell, Jameson, Fisher, Winchester and Banning for comment.


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