WPP AUNZ hires Jens Monsees as CEO

The Australian and New Zealand arm of the world’s largest advertising and communications holding group, WPP, has announced its new CEO following the departure of Mike Connaghan in October last year.

Jens Monsees, most recently corporate vice president leading global digital strategy, corporate planning and product strategy at the BMW Group, will step into the high-profile role in October.

Monsees joins from BMW

Monsees is currently based in Germany, but will relocate to Sydney for the role.

Prior to his time with automotive group BMW, Monsees held roles as the global CEO of digital marketing at Arvato AG, branding director for automotive, consumer goods, food retail and health care at Google Germany, and various marketing and branding roles at Mondelez and Schwarzkopf and Henkel.

The appointment represents WPP’s increasing focus on technology, data and business transformation, Rob Mactier, chairman of the AUNZ arm of the business said.

“The board conducted an extensive global search to identify the best leader for the company,” he said. “This appointment underlines our new positioning as a leader not only in creative advertising, branding, communications and media, but in technology, data and business transformation. Jens has a strong reputation for building brands and leading change in several industries. He brings rich experience and client-side insights to the role, at a time when the changing needs of our clients are paramount.

“The board also has a strong focus on the right cultural fit. Jens has built strong, diverse teams with a focus on collaborative culture creation. I have no doubt that he will inspire and lead the tremendous talent around him.”

Monsees said he was looking forward to building on newly-installed global WPP CEO Mark Read’s new era for the holding group.

Since taking the global role, Read has repeatedly acknowledged the uphill battle WPP faces due to its scale, the changing market, and legacy issues.

Under Read, WPP has merged agencies VML and Y&R to form VMLY&R, and J. Walter Thompson with Wunderman, to form Wunderman Thompson.

Read has also said the holding group’s issues weren’t purely driven by size, but a lack of central management.

Monsees is on board with the new approach, and said he is impressed with the Australian operation.

“I’m impressed by the creativity, dedication and drive for performance of the WPP AUNZ team and their clear ambition to be the ‘go-to’ partner for clients as we all take on the challenges of a rapidly changing digital world. In this dynamic environment, the potential for WPP AUNZ, as well as for our partners and clients, is tremendous. I’m absolutely convinced that together, we will be able to build stronger business models and stimulate growth by harnessing our deep creative and digital expertise,” he said.

“I am looking forward to working with John Steedman and the executive leadership team to keep developing and empowering our talent. I’m excited to build on Mark Read’s global strategy for a new era of global transformation to support the translation of that strategy into outcomes that build long-term profitable growth for the company, and for our shareholders.”

He is also, he said, looking forward to the move.

“Importantly, I am also looking forward to moving to Sydney with my family. We have spent time in Australia over the years, and what strikes me is the openness of the people, the frankness in the conversation and the ambition in the business.”

Read said of the appointment: “When we relaunched WPP plc as a creative transformation company last December we promised to put great ideas, technology and data at the heart of our new client offer. Australia and New Zealand are among the most exciting, vibrant and forward-looking markets in the world,” he said.

“The AUNZ team has WPP’s full support as it embarks on the next stage of its journey under Jens’ leadership.”

Monsees will take over from Steedman, who has been acting as interim CEO since October. Steedman will return to his role within the executive leadership team as executive director and chairman of media investment management.

Monsees will be on a salary package of up to $5.5m a year. He will also receive a signing on bonus of $1.5m.

Details of Monsee’s package:

Monsees’ WPP package | Source: ASX


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