WPP has announced that Karen Blackett OBE has been appointed as president of its business in the UK.
The move recognises the importance of the UK as WPP’s home market and its second largest worldwide after the United States, and the ongoing simplification and integration of the company’s operations.
Blackett currently serves as UK CEO of GroupM, WPP’s media investment business, alongside her role as UK Country Manager for WPP. Karen will step down from GroupM to focus full-time on WPP, and her successor as UK CEO of GroupM will be announced in due course.
WPP has 12,000 people in the UK and revenues of more than £2 billion. An important part of the company’s strategy is to simplify its operations, integrate its offer and bring its agencies closer together. WPP recently opened Rose Court, its second multi-agency campus building in London, with a third on the site of the former Financial Times headquarters in development.
Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said: “As we bring our agencies together in our new campuses and deliver increasingly integrated services for our clients, the scale and significance of the UK market requires a role with full-time focus. We also learned during lockdown – when it was essential we acted as one company – how important it is to have dedicated country leadership in our major markets around the world. Karen is one of the most admired figures in our industry and the kind of collaborative, people-focused leader who is perfect for this role.”
Christian Juhl, Global CEO of GroupM, said: “When she became CEO of GroupM in the UK, Karen had very clear objectives which she has delivered in full. During her time with GroupM the business has grown strongly and our agencies in the UK have won and retained substantial business with a range of major clients. I would like to thank her for her fantastic contribution and leadership.”
Karen Blackett OBE said: “I took on the GroupM role in the first week of lockdown in 2020, with a focus on guiding the business through the pandemic and beginning the transformation of GroupM in the UK. We’ve made huge progress and achieved so much in those two and a half years and I’m delighted to be able to hand the baton to a new leader with the organisation in good health. The UK is such an important market for WPP, with so many fantastic people, clients and partners, and I’m looking forward to being able to devote all of my time and attention to the country leadership role.”
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