J. Walter Thompson
Report by Gustavo Martinez, chairman and chief executive officer with Matt Eastwood, chief global creative director
2014 was an historic year for J. Walter Thompson, as we celebrated 150 years of pioneering. We also began a year-long transition in preparation for my official appointment as the incoming 2015 chairman and global CEO – a truly exciting and humbling handover.
After an intense ‘listening tour’ to meet our many great clients, visit our offices and get to know our employees, I cemented our mission: To create pioneering solutions that build enduring brands and business.
Restoring our creative shine was, and continues to be, a top priority, and hiring a global creative partner was a critical order of business. Within three months of arriving, I appointed Matt Eastwood as chief global creative officer, a role that was vacant in recent years. Matt is a fellow ‘global citizen’ whose creative ambition and international sensibility are challenging the network to raise its creative bar.
The second priority was to fortify our network with key leadership changes at both the regional and global levels.
Reintegrating Brazil into our LatAm region, we appointed Stefano Zunino as chief executive officer, J. Walter Thompson Latin America, now offering expanded pan-regional solutions.
We welcomed back Tarun Rai as the new chief executive officer of J. Walter Thompson South Asia, succeeding Colvyn Harris.
We also welcomed back Norman Tan as China chairman and North Asia chief creative officer.
In our New York flagship office, we elevated Lynn Power from managing director to president; and appointed Adam Kerj, her creative partner, as chief creative officer.
Claire Capeci was elevated from her role as managing director of J. Walter Thompson New York to global president of retail.
We welcomed a new head of analytics for North America, Amy Avery, to lead our rapidly growing analytics practice.
And driving our consumer insights and trends-focused initiatives, Lucie Greene joined as worldwide director of JWTIntelligence, adding expertise and bench strength to our global trends unit.
These leadership changes gave way to a number of new business wins and organic growth across all regions, including strong performances from the UK and APAC in particular. Build-A-Bear, Tata Sons Limited, Revlon’s Almay, Professional Brands and Mitchum, Bayer, HSBC, Kellogg’s, Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), Qatar Airways, Hilti, Treasury Wine Estates, and even the successful re-election campaign for Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos are just some of our great wins for the year.
With a name inspired by the Latin word for “amazing,” Mirum is poised to deliver both the technology and creative solutions that today’s global brands demand
Globally, we returned to our full name, J. Walter Thompson, and created the J. Walter Thompson Company – a parent company under which we introduced Mirum, a modern global company composed of 11 digital agencies across 17 countries and 40 offices. With a name inspired by the Latin word for “amazing,” Mirum is poised to deliver both the technology and creative solutions that today’s global brands demand.
Led by Dan Khabie as CEO, Mirum unified Digitaria, XM, CASA, ActivearkJWT, Twist Image, Lunchbox, i-Cherry, HeathWallace, Quirk, Clarus and X-Prime. Diverse both geographically and in their offerings, the companies shared an entrepreneurial culture, deep understanding of local market needs and leading-edge technical and creative capabilities. Together as a single brand, Mirum represents principles rooted in innovation, design, data and marketing, and has expert capabilities in Strategy & Consulting services, Creative & Content, User Experience & Platforms, Analytics & Insight, and Product Development & Mobile.
Dan’s natural entrepreneurial instincts and immeasurable passion foster Mirum’s startup mentality, while driving growth forward across the global network in partnership with the many entrepreneurs who comprise Mirum’s executive leadership team.
The launch of Mirum was an integral part of our overarching strategy to continue building J. Walter Thompson Company’s many assets and capabilities, in order to drive business transformation. And to continue leveraging ‘horizontality’ within WPP, this year we reinforced our relationship with our JV with Ogilvy & Mather, Geometry Global, in North America and Europe. (See Geometry Global report.)
With new leadership, new business wins and a new global agency in place, our goal is to reach 5% to 6% growth annually. By 2020, we aim to become a global powerhouse with the industry’s best talent and creative work, bringing each office to the top of their market and a portfolio that anticipates and serves our clients’ needs.
Throughout the year, I have been constantly impressed by J. Walter Thompson’s global citizens – a passionate and talented network with a never-ending desire to win. It must also be noted that few agency transitions have been handled so seamlessly for a company our size, and it is with thanks to Bob Jeffrey and his mentorship that it was made possible.
With new leadership, new business wins and a new global agency in place, our goal is to reach 5% to 6% growth annually. By 2020, we aim to become a global powerhouse with the industry’s best talent and creative work, bringing each office to the top of their market and a portfolio that anticipates and serves our clients’ needs
While 2014 has been an incredible journey, 2015 will be the first chapter of our next 150 years. We will continue to build and implement an aggressive growth strategy for the company, announcing additional structural changes and infusing new leadership to support the evolution of J. Walter Thompson Company. As the new CEO and chairman, I am honored to take the helm and continue polishing the diamond that is J. Walter Thompson.