JWT merges with Wunderman
Wunderman Thompson spells end of an era for 154-year-old brand, but will be “formidable combination,” says WPP CEO.
WPP is to merge Wunderman and J Walter Thompson to form Wunderman Thompson.
The merger means the end to one of the most august names in global advertising, J Walter Thompson, which was founded in 1864.
Mel Edwards, global CEO of Wunderman, will head the enlarged agency as CEO at Wunderman Thompson, which will have close to 20,000 staff in 90 markets. Tamara Ingram, global CEO of JWT, will become chairwoman.
A regional spokeswoman for WPP told Campaign that there was no further comment on regional job cuts or senior leadership changes (in MENA, JWT is headed by Sasan Saeidi and Wunderman by Nassib Boueiri) but that the timeline would be the same as globally, with the new agency fully operational by next year.
Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said: “Wunderman Thompson is a formidable combination, bringing together the capabilities our clients are demanding – award-winning creativity alongside deep expertise in technology, data and commerce – in a single organisation.
“Clients want greater simplicity from their partners and this development, like others at WPP, is designed to reshape our company around their needs. “It’s great news for our clients that we can combine the best of JWT and Wunderman in a single agency, and it’s great news for WPP as it allows us to compete more effectively in the sectors with the most significant opportunities for future growth.”
Mel Edwards said: “To achieve transformative outcomes, clients today need inspiration that is rooted in data-driven insight. I’m really excited to be able to deliver that within one agency. Wunderman Thompson offers precisely what clients want: brilliant creativity, expertise in data and sophisticated technology skills.”
Ingram added: “Both JWT and Wunderman have been built by the commitment of many talented people, whose combined capabilities will fur- ther distinguish us in the market. Coming together was a decision driven by the opportunity to better serve our clients, expand our offering and create an agency effectively positioned for the future. As Wunderman Thompson we will deliver worldclass services in every geography, and work that is more meaningful and more impactful than ever.”
Formidable combination: Edwards (left) and Ingram