WPP’s Jo Bacon takes the UK reins at M&C Saatchi

M&C Saatchi has poached WPP executive Jo Bacon as its new UK CEO. Bacon, former Unilever lead at WPP’s Ogilvy, will join a management team of executive chair Zillah Byng-Thorne, a former Future CEO, and group CEO Marcus Peffers, an M&C lifer. M&C is still looking for a global CCO.

Bacon’s appointment follows Saatchi’s reorganisation of its UK operations into a single group.

Bacon (left), who began her career at RKCR/Y&R and is a former CMO of media business Reach and MTV and Channel 5 owner Viacom International, says: “It’s an incredibly exciting time to be joining M&C Saatchi at such a pivotal stage in its transformation journey.

“I started my career at Saatchi’s, so becoming CEO of M&C Saatchi feels like a natural next step for me. I understand the power of the Saatchi brand – it’s one of the most iconic and influential names in communications.

“I’ve seen what incredible potential M&C Saatchi has, using ‘Brutal Simplicity of Thought’ (the M&C mantra) to build famous commercial brands, tackle the most complex societal issues and be central to moments of national and global importance. At the top of its game, there really is no better agency.”

Group CEO Peffers says: “Hiring Jo to lead our newly formed UK Agency is a tremendous coup. She’s a rare talent. As well as being 2023’s most awarded ad agency leader (for Dove campaigns), she’s a brilliant, highly experienced CMO, leading some of Britain’s biggest media brands, across the total marcomms mix.”

Quoted M&C Saatchi has a stock market valuation of £210m despite a recent history of upheavals and remains a takeover possibility for some. It has cut back some of its international operations recently, leaving the UK agency even more important in the grand scheme of things.

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