Staff Reporters
May 31, 2023

GroupM names John Halpin as New Zealand CEO

The Kiwi native will relocate from Australia and replaces former CEO Chris Riley.

L-R: GroupM AUNZ CEO Aimee Buchanan; NZ CEO John Halpin
L-R: GroupM AUNZ CEO Aimee Buchanan; NZ CEO John Halpin

WPP's GroupM network of media agencies has hired John Halpin to head up its New Zealand business as CEO. The role was previously held by Chris Riley since 2019.

A Kiwi native, Halpin has over 20 years of media and marketing experience across Australia, Europe and APAC as well as locally in New Zealand working with brands such as Coca-Cola, Commonwealth Bank, Telstra, Google, IBM and Microsoft. Most recently, he was head of strategy and media for independent agency Apparent, where he launched its media division in 2019 and scaled it across global and local technology brands. He also led other Australian independents such as Naked Communications as managing partner and Ikon as head of strategy.

“I love the fact that I’ll be working in New Zealand again," Halpin says. "There is an incredible talent base within our agencies, a depth of capability and the chance to work with some of Aotearoa and the world’s most iconic brands. That combination, fueled by a purpose driven and future-looking vision, is exactly the challenge I’ve been looking for."

Reporting to GroupM AUNZ CEO Aimee Buchanan, Halpin will work closely with the New Zealand leaders of EssenceMediacom, Wavemaker, Mindshare and GroupM to deliver products and services to  clients that leverage technology, tools and products from across the global network.

Earlier this month, GroupM dissolved its APAC-level management, with AUNZ now reporting directly to its global leadership. Within AUNZ, GroupM has also been rebuilding its leadership following the appointment of Pippa Berlocher as CEO of EssenceMediacom AUNZ, Maria Grivas as CEO of Mindshare AUNZ, Melissa Hey as GroupM Chief Investment Officer and Tom Braybrook as MD of data and tech consultancy Acceleration.

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