Ex-Sainsbury’s Rogers takes financial hot seat at WPP

WPP has a new CFO in John Rogers from Sainsbury’s Argos where he was CEO. Rogers, a former Sainsbury’s CFO, served under overall J Sainsbury CEO Mike Coupe. At WPP he replaces group finance director Paul Richardson who had previously announced his retirement.

What we used to call bean counters don’t usually get a mention here but Rogers (below) joins WPP at a pivotal moment.

CEO Mark Read is trying to manage the delicate balancing act of keeping WPP as a big player while slimming the group down with a number of mergers and disposals. WPP is selling 60 per cent of research operation Kantar to Bain. Rogers will presumably pay a key role in this process.

Read says: “John is not only an accomplished CFO, but also a leader with extensive experience of business transformation. His priority will be to lead a finance function that best fosters investment in creativity, technology and talent in support of WPP’s new strategy for growth.

Rogers says: “I am really excited to be joining WPP as it embarks on the next stage of its evolution. As a technology-driven business with creativity at its heart, joining WPP was an opportunity impossible to resist and I look forward to playing my part in helping the business deliver its new strategy.”

The acquisition of Argos is generally deemed to be a success for Sainsbury’s, although it’s now closing 60 stores, but Coupe’s other big idea – merging with Asda – was anything but, thrown out by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA.)

At WPP Rogers may have to busy himself with further in-company mergers – rumours swirl about a tie-up between Grey and digital agency AKQA – and, maybe, deal with an unwanted bid from one of the big accountancy-based consultancies or private equity.

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About Stephen Foster

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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.