WPP AUNZ has announced new leadership at Wunderman Thompson Australia and NZ, as CEO John Gutteridge (left) departs the agency following a long and successful career. Replacing Gutteridge as CEO is Lee Leggett (right).
Says Gutteridge: “Once I decided to return to Australia, WPP AUNZ asked me to lead the merger of Wunderman and J Walter Thompson in Australia and New Zealand. It’s been a fulfilling experience and thanks to the hard work of the team we’ve got a very strong proposition. But with the two brands now successfully working together and the business heading into its next phase, it was always my intention to hand the business over once the merger was complete. It’s the perfect time for Lee to take over and I wish her all the very best. I’m now moving onto a new and very different opportunity, which I’m feeling really energised by, I look forward to sharing more details in due course. My time with WPP and Wunderman Thompson has been a very positive experience, providing the chance to work with some really talented and inspiring people from around the world, I look forward to watching their continued success.”
Says Jens Monsees, CEO, WPP AUNZ: “We would like to thank John for his commitment to the business and helping to achieve the successful merger of Wunderman Thompson to become the data and technology powerhouse it now is. We wish him well for the future.”
Leggett brings more than 20 years’ digital and international experience gained from a range of management roles where she led diverse teams, managed complex stakeholders and built strong relationships between senior clients, cross agency teams and media partners. She brings a unique skillset to the role having deep digital capability combined with advertising agency and media agency experience.
Leggett has spent the past four years consulting to a range of leading agencies including Havas and Publicis, in addition to working with WPP AUNZ’s Hogarth and other company brands on production partnerships. Prior to this, she held a number of senior management roles including CEO of Initiative, CEO of Dare, and managing director of Grand Union working in both London and Sydney.
Says Monsees: “Lee is a consummate leader driven by a focus on delivering impact through partnership, relationships and collaboration. Together, Lee and her team will start a new era at Wunderman Thompson utilising her vast digital knowledge and international experience to closely align the brand with the global WT positioning. I look forward to her contribution to the broader company, as we continue our transformation.”
Says Leggett: “I’m delighted to be joining the Wunderman Thompson business. I’ve always looked for opportunities that provide the chance to both lead and work side by side with teams that are driven by new and innovative approaches. I believe I’ve found that at Wunderman Thompson and am looking forward to working with Jens and the broader global team as we further consolidate the agency’s leading market position.”
She starts immediately and will be based at Wunderman Thompson’s Sydney office.
Gutteridge has more than 20 years’ experience working in the communications industry and a variety of WPP agencies across multiple markets. He rose rapidly through management, becoming CEO of JWT ANZ in 2011. Gutteridge was then appointed the youngest ever CEO of JWT and Mirum Asia Pacific in mid-2016 returning to Australia in March 2019 to head up Wunderman Thompson across Australia and New Zealand, and at the request of WPP AUNZ, to specifically oversee the integration of the J. Walter Thompson and the Wunderman brands.