WPP AUNZ Announces Changes to its New Zealand Operation

WPP AUNZ has announced changes to its New Zealand Leadership team.   Managing Director NZ Sven Baker has resigned from his current position and will move to the transitional role of non-executive Chairman, NZ, at the same time a new, NZ management team has been appointed.  Reporting to Jens Monsees, CEO, WPP AUNZ, the new NZ management team comprises: Chris Riley (CEO, GroupM, NZ); Kelly-Ann Maxwell, (CEO Designworks); Luke Pierson (CEO, Wunderman Thompson); and Damian Ferigo, CFO New Zealand, WPP AUNZ.   


Over the almost two decades Sven has been with the company, he has played a pivotal role overseeing some of NZ’s most successful M&As, has driven growth, spearheaded great campaigns and has worked hard on collaboration with all the brands within NZ and across Australia,” said Jens Monsees, CEO, WPP AUNZ.  


“Sven is deeply respected across the company for his considered perspective on the business.We thank him for his commitment and dedication and look forward to working with him in this new capacity.”


Baker’s career with WPP AUNZ commenced in the 2000s when pre-eminent design company Designworks became part of the company.


During his time at the helm of Designworks, Sven established himself as a leading strategic and creative practitioner on both sides of the Tasman. In 2013 Sven was awarded the much-coveted Designers Institute of New Zealand Black Pin in recognition of his outstanding achievements and contribution to the design profession.


Baker said: “It’s been an absolute privilege to have worked with our clients and the whole team across WPP AUNZ. It’s been an amazing ride, but I feel this is absolutely the right time to step back from the operational side of the business. There’s an incredibly talented group of senior leaders ready and able to step up and drive this business forward. I’m also excited about shaping the next chapter of my own career, both within the governance role for WPP AUNZ in NZ, and across broader interests, including actively supporting the portfolio of technology start-ups that  I am becoming increasingly involved with as an investor and advisor.”


The NZ management team will take the reins immediately and will work together to bring the best of the WPP AUNZ NZ-based companies to their clients, their teams and the market.  Chris Riley, Damian Ferigo, Kelly-Ann Maxwell (KAM) will be based in Auckland and Luke is based in Wellington.  Together they will manage all the NZ locations.


Riley has spent more than 20 years in advertising, communications and digital working in senior leadership positions across agencies in the UK and NZ.  Maxwell recently moved to New Zealand from London and is bringing her global operational expertise and passion for creativity to the team.  Pierson has more than 20 years’ experience in business leadership and last year successfully merged Heyday and J. Walter Thompson to create Wunderman Thompson NZ.  Ferigo, who has been with WPP AUNZ in NZ for three years, will continue to drive commercial and financial management excellence across all the businesses. 


According to Monsees: “In the short time I have been in this market, I have been blown away by the quality of leadership, and talent, that we have across the company.  The NZ team has big ambitions and we are excited about the future,” he said.

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