After a high-profile career in Asia, J. Walter Thompson APAC CEO Tom Doctoroff is handing the reigns of the region over to John Gutteridge, long marked as one to watch in JWT.
“Tom’s indefatigable passion for building domestic and global brands, and his expertise on China has set him, as a business leader, and our agency, apart in this critical, high-growth market,” said J. Walter Thompson Worldwide CEO Tamara Ingram.
“He has left a real legacy of robust growth and thought leadership, not just in China but across Asia, for our network as a whole.
“I’m confident John will build on that momentum. He is a strategic thinker and a decisive leader who injects a very infectious energy and passion into everything he does.”
The appointment is part of a long-term succession plan mapped out over the last year by Doctoroff and Gutteridge, who serves as the J. Walter Thompson’s Australia & New Zealand CEO, and sits on the network’s Asia Pacific Executive Committee.
Gutteridge began his career with J. Walter Thompson in the UK and ascended rapidly through the management ranks.
In 2004, at the age of 30, he became managing director of J. Walter Thompson New Zealand; four years later was appointed managing director of J. Walter Thompson Melbourne, and in 2011 promoted to CEO of Australia and New Zealand.
Under his watch, JWT acquired two digital agencies, Heyday and Webling, launched Colloquial, a new content business, and took management control of Evo, Australia’s first-ever shopper marketing agency.
Gutteridge also set up a new way of working designed to tear down silos, ensure collaboration and wring more synergies out of an increasingly diverse team of talent.
Gutteridge will continue to oversee the Australian and New Zealand business as part of his expanded role, with Jenny Willits (Sydney), Michael Godwin (Melbourne), Doni Savvides (Perth), and Simon Lendrum (Auckland) remaining at the helm of their respective offices.
“The Australian and New Zealand offices of J Walter Thompson have not only had incredible growth in the past 12 to 18 months, but each have also built a culture of collaboration and effectiveness that will ensure their future success,” said Gutteridge.
“I have complete confidence that each of these office leaders, with their specific knowledge of each individual market teamed with the depth and ability to work together across borders where required, will continue this pattern of outstanding results.”
Gutteridge, who is now 42, will work out of the network’s APAC office in Singapore in his role as regional CEO.
“APAC is one of the most exciting places to be right now. We’re continually reminded of its importance in the global economy, and indeed the immense potential for so many businesses here,” he added.
“Tom has been an inspiration to many, and I admire the sense of community he’s worked hard to create across such a diverse group of countries. I’m looking forward to working with our leadership team to ensure we deliver a future focused model with a best in class product.”
Doctoroff, who has spent 24 years with the J. Walter Thompson Company, including 22 years in Asia, and 18 in China, is moving back to the U.S to pursue a new opportunity, which he will announce in due course.
“I feel confident that I’m leaving a team and region I care deeply about in good hands. John has a proven ability to unify people around a clear philosophy that puts everyone on the same path to the same goal. That’s a quality that is going to resonate well with staff and clients across the Asia Pacific region,” he said.