WPP AUNZ announces new leadership team for NZ with MD Sven Baker moving to ‘transitional’ non-executive chairman role

WPP AUNZ has begun its impending structural overhaul under the leadership of new CEO Jens Monsees, announcing a new leadership team for its New Zealand operation.

As part of the changes, Sven Baker has resigned from his NZ managing director role and will shift into the ‘transitional’ role of non-executive chairman for New Zealand.

Sven Baker will step into the non-executive chairman role

Baker joined WPP AUNZ in the early 2000s when his agency, Designworks, was acquired by the holding group.

In a statement, Monsees paid tribute to Baker’s two decades with the company.

“Over the almost two decades Sven has been with the company, he has played a pivotal role overseeing some of NZ’s most successful M&As, has driven growth, spearheaded great campaigns and has worked hard on collaboration with all the brands within NZ and across Australia,” Monsees said.

“Sven is deeply respected across the company for his considered perspective on the business. We thank him for his commitment and dedication and look forward to working with him in this new capacity.”

Baker said it was the right time to step away from the operational side of the business.

“It’s been an absolute privilege to have worked with our clients and the whole team across WPP AUNZ. It’s been an amazing ride, but I feel this is absolutely the right time to step back from the operational side of the business,” Baker said.

“There’s an incredibly talented group of senior leaders ready and able to step up and drive this business forward.

“I’m also excited about shaping the next chapter of my own career, both within the governance role for WPP AUNZ in NZ, and across broader interests, including actively supporting the portfolio of technology start-ups that I am becoming increasingly involved with as an investor and advisor.”

The new leadership team consists of Group M NZ CEO Chris Riley, Designworks CEO Kelly-Ann Maxwell, Wunderman Thompson NZ CEO Luke Pierson and WPP New Zealand CFO Damian Ferigo.

The team will take over immediately and report into Monsees.

Monsees added that he has already been ‘blown away’ over the quality of leadership in the company.

“In the short time I have been in this market, I have been blown away by the quality of leadership, and talent, that we have across the company. The NZ team has big ambitions and we are excited about the future,” he said.

Last week, it was announced that WPP AUNZ has acquired New Zealand martech company Dominion in order to merge it into AKQA Auckland, executing the holding group’s strategy to “combine technology and commerce with experience and communication services”.


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