GroupM’s global CEO Kelly Clark has quit the role after almost three years, with Christian Juhl appointed as his successor, B&T can confirm.
The New York-based Clark has confirmed that he will leave the post later this year.
He has worked for WPP since 1988, first starting out at the creative agency WPP and has been the global boss of GroupM since 2016. Clark, who was in Australia at the time, was a guest editor of the print edition of B&T in mid-last year.
Clark was appointed GroupM’s global CEO in 2016 with a three-year commitment to prepare the business for the future by designing and leading significant transformation initiatives. These have included Essence’s expansion into a full-service agency, the creation of Wavemaker, the move to 3 World Trade Center in New York, and an array of people and technology investments.
He will support Juhl in the transition and continue as a senior advisor to WPP and GroupM.
Juhl, currently chief executive of GroupM agency Essence, will be responsible for the vision, strategy and operational excellence of WPP’s media-focused companies, together the world’s largest media investment organization with 35,000 people and $48B in annual client media billings.
WPP CEO Mark Read said: “Christian has the right combination of leadership, people and technology skills to build the modern media company, something he has demonstrated extraordinarily well at Essence.
“We have a great number of talented people across GroupM and its agencies, and I have every confidence in Christian’s ability to be an outstanding leader to them and an outstanding partner to our clients.”
Juhl led Essence’s acquisition by WPP in 2015, and since joining GroupM, Essence has grown exponentially in markets, clients and services.
The 4As named Christian among its “100 people who make advertising great” in 2017, and Essence earned Adweek’s recognition as “Breakthrough Agency of the Year” the following year.
Before Essence, Juhl held roles with Publicis, Razorfish and USWeb/CKS.
He said: “I’m truly honored and grateful for this opportunity to help deliver on Mark’s vision for WPP as a creative transformation company.
“Media frames the future for creativity, and GroupM’s incredible agency brands, talent, client partnerships, and scale give us the unique opportunity to help reshape the industry and the way people think about advertising.”
Outgoing Clark will support Christian in the transition and continue as a senior advisor to WPP and GroupM.
“Today, we’re stronger and better-positioned to help our clients win in an intensely competitive business environment,” he said.
“I know Christian will work well with our leadership team to build further and faster on our ability to contribute to client growth. All of us in GroupM have an inspiring new leader.”
Read added: “Kelly has had a very successful three years as CEO of GroupM, reflected in its recent strong run of new business wins. I’d like to thank him for his dedication and leadership over many years with the company. I am delighted that he will support Christian during the transition and continue as a trusted senior advisor to the company.”
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