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Can new IPA leader Krichefski improve agency mental health?

GroupM UK and EMEA CEO Josh Krichefski is the new president of the UK’s IPA agency trade body and his mantra for his two-year term is: “Let’s support a resilient, thriving and mentally healthy workforce.”

Krichefski (above) wants to attract more and better people to the ad industry, widely deemed to be suffering a talent shortage. Krichefski began banging this particular drum in pre-lockdown times as UK boss of Mediacom (now EssenceMediacom.)

Krichefski says; “We don’t have factories, trucks, manufactured goods. Our people are everything. It’s their brilliance and imagination which is what makes us who and what we are. And that’s why we have to look after them. Let’s take the steps needed to create the most inclusive workplaces imaginable. And let’s support a resilient, thriving and mentally healthy workforce and empower them to write the future of advertising.”

This, of course, is the supply side of the advertising economy, the trouble can often be the demand side. One of the reasons adland is deemed to be an unduly stressful place to be these days is overall demand (there’s a lot more competition for marketing dollars, chiefly from tech-based contenders) and the particular demands of clients who are much keener on project-based relationships that cost them less money.

Then there’s the aftershock of the pandemic and consequent work from home. People are far less keen to find their way into the office five days a week (seven days if there’s a pitch on), supposing they can find a means of getting there with transport strikes and ever more traffic restrictions.

And the money….in adland’s “golden era” the money was very good indeed for many. Now it isn’t especially although Krichefski’s ultimate boss WPP CEO Mark Reqd has just seen his pay rise to nearly £7m.

All this is a pretty big circle to square for Krichefski in just two years in a voluntary role. Like his predecessors he’ll probably achieve a bit but the same problems will doubtless face his successor. Unless client/agency relationships can, somehow or other, be magically reset.

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