Staff Reporters
Oct 12, 2020

'Steady' goes: WPP AUNZ announces retirement of John Steedman

The longtime creative- and media-agency leader ends a 45-year run with WPP and WPP AUNZ, which included time at JWT, Mindshare, GroupM and the holding company itself.

John Steedman
John Steedman

WPP AUNZ announced the retirement of John Steedman, its executive director and chief operating officer.

Steedman's departure is effective today. Known as 'Steady', Steedman has had a career of more than four decades within WPP, including Asia and ANZ leadership positions at JWT, Mindshare, GroupM and the holding company itself. He was appointed director of WPP AUNZ in April 2016, served as interim CEO from November 2018 to October 2019 and has been chief operating officer for the last year following the appointment of Jens Monsees as CEO.

WPP AUNZ chairman Robert Mactier praised Steedman for his "enormous contribution to WPP AUNZ and WPP plc" and said his experience, advocacy and pragmatism will be greatly missed. “John is widely respected as an industry leader in the media buying sector and as a passionate advocate on important issues including diversity and inclusion, and 'R U OK?' suicide prevention and he is a leading voice in seeking greater accountability in online media commentary," Mactier added.

Monsees said Steedman has provided invaluable support and leadership as COO over the past year as WPP AUNZ faced challenging external circumstances. “I have been very grateful for his contribution as we have embarked on our transformation strategy, which is now well underway, and he leaves with my thanks and best wishes for the future,” Monsees said.

Steedman said it's been an honour to serve WPP AUNZ and WPP plc for the past 45 years. "Over this time, I have been greatly impressed by the calibre of talent and creativity of the people I work with and their energy to embrace change and growth," he said. "I have been through cycles of both positive tailwinds and tough downturns, and through each one, it is the fantastic clients and colleagues whom I have had the pleasure to work alongside, that has made this journey so rewarding and colourful.

"I have been considering retirement for a while, and now, having well and truly handed the reins over to Jens, is the right time. I wish the board and management all the very best in their future endeavours.”

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