WPP UK president Karen Blackett quits after 29 years

Karen Blackett is leaving WPP – no word on where she’s going – after three decades in which she has had a big impact on the UK group.

As well as her media and client skills, she is a walking testament to the group’s ability to nurture the careers of senior women and embrace diversity in the process. With Aline Santos recently exiting Unilever, the industry is losing its first wave of DE&I champions – and serious role models. 

Blackett, a single mum, came up through MediaCom in the 90s, where she rose to CEO in 2011 and subsequently presided over the agency’s UK dominance. WPP’s UK operation has been strong since Blackett became UK president in 2022, with revenues rising 5.6% in 2023 and 7.6% in 2022. 

WPP CEO Mark Read said: “Karen has continually been a positive force for change in our industry and her commitment and unwavering loyalty to WPP and our clients have benefited the company in many ways. She has always championed diversity of talent as the driver of creativity and growth, and has acted as a beacon for new talent, many of whom are key leaders across our agencies and the industry today.”

Blackett said: “I will miss our brilliant people in our agencies, our clients and the creativity of our teams. I am always on a growth journey, and the time is right to pursue this outside of WPP. There is no doubt 2024 will be a pivotal year for the UK and US, and I am looking forward to what comes next.”

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