WPP’s GroupM is transitioning to new global leadership.
Effective Oct. 1, Christian Juhl will succeed Kelly Clark as global CEO, tasked with overseeing an organization of 35,000 people and representing $48 billion in annual client billings.
Juhl currently serves as global CEO at GroupM agency Essence, Adweek’s Breakthrough Media Agency of the Year, a role he has held since being promoted from North America CEO at the agency in 2014. He led Essence’s acquisition by WPP back in 2015. Prior to joining Essence, Juhl spent nearly a decade with Razorfish, holding leadership roles there such as president of the West Coast region and managing director of the San Francisco office.
“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,” WPP CEO Mark Read wrote in a statement. “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.”
“I’m truly honored and grateful for this opportunity to help deliver on Mark’s vision for WPP as a creative transformation company,” Juhl added. “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.”
Clark was appointed global CEO of GroupM in 2016, with a three-year commitment to the role. He transformed GroupM through a series of organizational changes, including the expansion of Essence into a full-service agency, the creation of Wavemaker and GroupM’s move to 3 World Trade Center. Clark will aid Juhl in the transition to global CEO of GroupM and continue as a senior advisor to GroupM and WPP.
“Today, we’re stronger and better-positioned to help our clients win in an intensely competitive business environment,” Clark wrote in a statement. “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.”
“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,” Read added. “I am delighted that he will support Christian during the transition and continue as a trusted senior advisor to the company.”
The announcement comes on the heels of U.S. leadership changes for WPP’s media agency network. Last month, GroupM made a series of U.S. C-suite changes with three promotions and one hire as North America CEO Tim Castree seeks to simplify the network in the region after taking on the role last December.