Squad goals: Karen Blackett changes up GroupM operating structure in the UK

GroupM has been sliced up into five different “squads” in the UK in an effort to simplify its offering to clients and improve its partnership with the rest of WPP. The new divisions will be: customer engagement and growth; products and services; transformation and integration; finance and business operations; media investment management.

All five brands – Mindshare, MediaCom, Wavemaker, Essence and m/Six – live on. Karen Blackett, who moved to the CEO role at GroupM seven months ago, has spent time speaking to employees, clients and intermediaries and has come up with this new structure as a result.

Blackett said: “By adopting a more agile way of working with these new overlapping squads we have the ability to adapt and shape our focus based solely on client needs. I am thrilled to welcome both Neil and Lisa. Having worked with them for many years at WPP I am looking forward to having them as integral parts of this new era at GroupM UK.”

Each squad has its own leader, mostly taken from GroupM rather than from the individual agencies, who will take up their new role in January.

Products and Services is led by Niel Bornman in the role of chief product and services officer. He was previously global chief technology officer at WPP, a role he took up in April 2019 after moving over from Dentsu.

Transformation and integration squad leader is Lisa Humphreys, now called chief transformation and integration officer. She will also continue in her current role as strategy development director, which she took up in January 2018 after 13 years at MediaCom.

Customer Engagement and Growth squad leader is Paul Rowlinson. He was managing director of GroupM digital for the last three years, and before that spent 13 years at Mindshare.

Media Investment management is led by Simon Willis, previously managing director of investment at GroupM, who has had previous stints at MEC (pre-Wavemaker) and Mindshare.

Finance and business operations come under the remit of Charlotte Frijns, who was CFO of GroupM UK. She moved from Publicis Groupe in 2018.

IPG has also been tweaking its media offering, and has launched the Mediabrands Content Studio, an international operation that will create branded content and digital content. It will be led by New York-based Brendan Gaul, who has appointed global chief content officer at Mediabrands, moving over from the same role at UM.

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