WPP has announced that it is merging creative agencies Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R to create a new entity—VML.
Describing it as the "world's largest creative company", marking a "major evolution in its offering to clients", VML will be led by Jon Cook, VMLY&R's chief executive, as global chief executive, and Mel Edwards (Campaign's Agency Leader of the Year 2022
), global chief executive of Wunderman Thompson, as global president.
WPP said the management team would be "bringing together strong leaders from across both companies".
As a combined agency, VML will house more than 30,000 people across 64 markets when it officially comes into being on 1 January 2024.
Cook said: "The future of building strong brands and businesses requires the interconnectivity of brand experience, commerce and customer experiences. We recognised the immediate opportunity to create what every consultancy and advertising agency aspires to build with the formation of VML.
"We're especially excited to present our new offering to the industry as we don't believe there is another company as creatively awarded with our depth in customer experience and commerce."
Edwards added: "This is the right suite of capabilities, offered at just the right moment, at unprecedented scale. It's incredibly exciting because with this new agency we have the chance to shape the future of modern marketing in every key market around the world. The opportunities it affords our people and the growth we can deliver for our clients at a global scale make this a real game-changer for each business and the wider industry."
Mark Read, WPP's chief executive, said that "scale matters in today's world as AI and technology transform marketing and global clients look to simplify their relationships".
He continued: "VML will combine world-class creativity with deep expertise in data, marketing technology and platforms to deliver competitive advantage for ambitious brands. It's another important step forward for WPP as we continue to reshape our offer for the future, simplify our business and unlock further benefits of scale.
"Separately, Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R are two of WPP's strongest and best-performing agencies. Together, they will deliver an even wider, fully integrated suite of capabilities to our clients in every market. Marketers today expect seamless links between their brand advertising and technology solutions and platforms. VML provides an immediate solution to this business imperative."
WPP has announced several key leadership appointments for VML. They include Debbi Vandeven, global chief creative officer; Eric Campbell, global chief client officer; Juan Pablo Jurado, chief executive LATAM; Ewen Sturgeon, chief executive EMEA; and Audrey Kuah and Yi-Chung Tay, co-chief executives of APAC.
More as this story develops.