WPP AUNZ’s CEO Mike Connaghan resigns after 12 years

WPP AUNZ’s CEO Mike Connaghan has resigned from the advertising and communications holding company after 12 years.

In a statement posted on the ASX, the CEO of the Australia’s biggest advertising and communications holding group said it has been a “truly diverse experience and a privilege to serve the company.”

Connaghan quits after 12 years

“I am proud of the company that we have built and the talented employees and impressive calibre of clients that we have nurtured and supported.

“I am confident that the company will go from strength to strength.”

WPP AUNZ’s executive director John Steedman, will lead an executive steering committee during the transition period.

After Connaghan’s two year stint as the CEO of WPP-owned advertising agency JWT, he became the CEO of STW in 2008.

In 2016, after the merger of WPP and STW in both Australia and New Zealand, Connaghan become the CEO of WPP AUNZ.

Speaking of Connaghan’s resignation, Rob Mactier, chairman of WPP AUNZ, said: “Mike has led the company through a period of extensive change and inspired our people to leverage our scale, global knowledge and collective know-how. It is a testament to Mike’s qualities that he recognises that it is now the right time for renewal as we seek to capitalise on the opportunities that the merger and our leadership position in the market presents, particularly as the industry undergoes further transformation.”

In a series of change for the global holding group, Connaghan’s departure comes just six months after Sir Martin Sorrell abruptly resigned as WPP’s global boss.

WPP later confirmed Mark Read as its new CEO. Read was previously the chief operating officer at WPP for six months.

Just last month, WPP merged two of its biggest agencies Y&R and VML to create VMLY&R.

Meanwhile, the holding group has seen a series of leadership departures this year with Tania Kullmann resigning as Kantar’s CEO in February; Paul Worboys and Miles Joyce stepping down as joint-CEOs of WhiteGreyPhil McDonald, the CEO of Y&R Australia, departing in March and Dominic Walsh exiting Landor as managing director in June.

A global search is currently underway for his replacement.


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