Jim Prior, chair of WPP’s Design Bridge and Partners, is leaving the agency and network later this year.
Prior joined WPP in 2001 as chief executive of The Partners and became chief executive of Lambie-Nairn in 2014.
In 2018, he led the merger of The Partners, Lambie-Nairn, Brand Union, Addison and Vbat to create Superunion, which brought together most of WPP's key design and branding agencies as part of a broader simplification drive.
Superunion later merged with Design Bridge in July 2022, officially launching as Design Bridge and Partners earlier this year.
“It has been a wonderful experience to work with so many talented people across WPP over the last 22 years,” Prior said.
“I’m leaving in the knowledge that Design Bridge and Partners is superbly well set for continued success, in the hands of a great leadership team.”
Prior worked alongside John Morris, chief executive of Design Bridge and Partners, to define the positioning of the new company.
Morris added: “I’d like to thank Jim for being my partner over the last year as we brought the two agencies together, bedded in our new brand and created a culture where our teams are encouraged to unleash the full power of design.
“His continued mentorship and encouragement of our teams has helped build the Design Bridge and Partners it is today and on behalf of everyone in the agency, we wish him the very best in his next chapter.”
Prior also helped to relaunch the WPP brand in 2018, working with colleagues at Landor & Fitch and WPP to create the company’s new positioning, logo and wider brand identity.
He has previously worked with clients such as Ford, Deloitte, the BBC and the London Symphony Orchestra.
There was no word from Prior on his future plans after WPP.
Mark Read, chief executive of WPP, said: “Jim has made a lasting mark on our company, having contributed to WPP’s success over the last 22 years, and as a central figure in the relaunch of the WPP brand.”
Read added that Prior has helped to create a culture of excellence in design and brand strategy throughout the business.
He said: “Jim’s impact on WPP and the wider industry extends well beyond his outstanding stewardship of the agencies he has led and the superb work they have produced for clients.”
Prior was sometimes known for his direct manner, telling Campaign Asia in 2018 that Sir Martin Sorrell, Read's predecessor, was “a long, long, long way behind in the rearview mirror”.
That prompted Sorrell, the executive chairman of S4 Capital, to confront Prior at an industry conference in an extraordinary, public bust-up. Sorrell denied a report that he had slapped Prior but WPP wrote to the S4 boss to complain after the alleged incident.