Agency behemoth WPP AUNZ has announced that industry expert John Gutteridge is returning to Australia to take on the newly created role of CEO for Wunderman Thompson Australia/NZ.
Gutteridge is currently J. Walter Thompson’s Asia-Pacific CEO, and has worked for the agency in Australia, New Zealand and London since 1999.
WPP AUNZ executive director John Steedman said when Wunderman and J. Walter Thompson united last year to form Wunderman Thompson that the search for an outstanding leader with a broad spectrum of both local and global industry experience across creative, data and technology began in earnest.
“John was an obvious choice. Wunderman Thompson is a formidable offering and the opportunity to lead the new agency and create a creative, data and technology powerhouse is just what John was after,” Steedman said.
“Leading JWT in APAC, John successfully established himself as one of the most forward-thinking leaders in today’s marketplace – blending his award-winning creativity with his deep expertise in data and technology marketing will create an industry powerhouse.
“His appointment is great news for Wunderman Thompson staff, its clients and WPP AUNZ.
Commenting on his appointment, Gutteridge said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in APAC and there’s much to be proud of. I shall truly miss our clients, the diverse cultures and the great talent we have across the region.
“I am now relishing the prospect of being more intimately involved with the running of the business, the product and of course our clients, as we launch the exciting proposition of Wunderman Thompson.”
Gutteridge will report into the CEO of WPP AUNZ (once appointed) and will also be a member of the WPP AUNZ executive committee responsible for driving innovation across the entire WPP group.
“The opportunity to play a key role and influence the future of WPP AUNZ is also tremendously exciting,” he added.
“I know the executive team well and look forward to working closely with them all in what will be an exciting year ahead. I can’t wait to get started.”
Wunderman Thompson chairman Tamara Ingram added: “John has been a very strong and effective leader in APAC and brought considerable talent and new business to the region.
“The business is now more diversified and modernised both in terms of skills and output. John and I have been in discussions since last year about his need to be closer to his family in Australia. This is a great outcome for John, Wunderman Thompson and WPP AUNZ”.
Gutteridge returns to Australia in the first quarter of 2019.