Senior Maxus leaders ship out to WPP’s new Essence


WPP digital media agency Essence is replacing Maxus in GroupM’s four-strong global line-up (Maxus is being merged into MEC as something or other) and four senior Maxus executives have found a place in the lifeboat.

Maxus Americas CEO Steve Williams will become North America CEO at Essence. Maxus UK CEO Nick Baughan (left) will become EMEA CEO, Damian Blackden is to be chief strategy officer and Simeon Duckworth will be global head of strategy and analytics. The outlook for other Maxus executives and staff doesn’t look so rosy.

Essence global CEO Christian Juhl says: “Our firm intent is to apply the very same techniques, combined with machine learning and new modelling approaches, to inform targeting decisions and measurement across all media channels. This requires us to bring on leaders with a broad range of skill sets and experience.”

Essence’s cornerstone account is Google although it also works with Target, Walgreens and the Financial Times. Maxus clients include NBC Universal in the US and Barclays, BT and L’Oreal in the UK. It’s not clear if the latter will be retained in the UK and where. Maxus and MEC set up a joint operation to handle BT following a recent review. L’Oreal, unusually for a big global client, picks its media agencies country by country. New Essence EMEA boss Baughan is close to L’Oreal so there will probably be efforts to persuade it Essence-wards.


MEC UK CEO Jason Dormieux has been named UK CEO of the merged MEC and Maxus when it launches in January next year. Maxus UK MD Anna Hickey will be MD of the new agency and MEC COO Paul Hutchinson will be COO.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.