WPP splits Myer account across Ikon and Essence in partnership announced prior to redundancies

WPP agencies Ikon and Essence have entered a partnership to jointly handle the Myer account, led by Essence’s managing director, Jenny Pham. Mumbrella understands the partnership was announced a few weeks before the five redundancies in Ikon’s Myer team, revealed yesterday.

Industry sources say that one person is left on Ikon’s Myer account and that the five redundancies constitute a quarter of Ikon’s Melbourne team, which, before the redundancies, sat at approximately 20 people. Essence has taken on full digital responsibilities for the account, while Ikon retains overall responsibility for strategy, integrated channel planning, and offline media.

In an email seen by Mumbrella, Ikon managing partner Mel Roberts said Essence’s Pham will be “agnostic” when it comes to the now-shared Myer account.

“All reporting lines remain the same but functionally the team will all need to work very closely with Jenny and the Essence team,” read the email.

“As next steps,  I will be working with Jenny on a timeline and for us to set up some meetings as a group to establish process, behaviours, ways of working so that we are all set up for success.”

Roberts added that it is an “exciting time of change” and an opportunity to develop “a new way of working with our largest client”.

The email was sent to Ikon’s Melbourne team on 25 June, with Roberts announcing that Pham was stepping into the role effective immediately in order to “hit the ground running”.

WPP has told Mumbrella the partnership began on 1 July.

“Partnership and collaboration is at the core of what WPP AUNZ always offers its clients.  Our clients demand the best team and resources available and we are confident the new Ikon and Essence partnership will deliver substantial benefits,” said John Steedman, interim AUNZ CEO of WPP.

Lesley Edwards, Ikon’s CEO, added that Ikon is “delighted” to partner with Essence to provide Myer the “extended skills set and capabilities required”.

“We look forward to maintaining our long-standing and successful relationship with Myer and to our new partnership working with Essence.”

Ikon has worked with Myer for nine years.


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