Gideon Spanier
Dec 14, 2018

WPP poaches Laurent Ezekiel from Publicis to pursue new business

Ezekiel becomes holding group's first chief marketing and growth officer.

Laurent Ezekiel
Laurent Ezekiel

WPP has appointed Publicis Groupe's Laurent Ezekiel to the newly created role of chief marketing and growth officer.

Ezekiel, who grew up in London and is half-British and half-French, brings technology and client-facing experience – two key areas that new WPP chief executive Mark Read has named as priorities.

He will split his time between New York and London – in a similar fashion to his most recent role at Publicis as North America and international president of Digitas and working on new business.

Ezekiel is the most-high profile external hire that Read has made since taking charge of WPP in September.

He will report to Read and work alongside Lindsay Pattison, WPP’s chief client officer.

In a memo to staff, Read said: "Laurent’s combination of skills – as a modern marketer with experience in technology, data, client services and new business – is rare in our industry and this is an important new role for WPP as we continue to reshape our company around the needs of our clients."

Read also highlighted Ezekiel’s business development role at Publicis, where he was responsible for major pitches and global client relationships such as Samsung and American Express.

Ezekiel recently played a leading role in Publicis’ successful pitch for GlaxoSmithKline's $1.7bn (£1.3bn) media account, defeating rivals WPP and Omnicom in the process.

He spent 16 years at Digitas and its predecessor LBi, where he worked with Luke Taylor, who also quit Publicis last year for a senior role at Omnicom.

Ezekiel, 44, started his career at Saatchi & Saatchi and went on to work at Grey London before its acquisition by WPP.

Read said at WPP’s investor day this week that he wants to focus on four core areas – communications, experience, commerce and technology – and earmarked £15m to invest in hiring creative talent, particularly in the US.

Ezekiel's experience of North America is likely to be important because WPP's operation in the US, its biggest market, has been shrinking.

WPP’s net sales have fallen 3.7% in North America in the first nine months of 2018, following a 3.2% decline in 2017.

Related Articles

Just Published

9 hours ago

InMobi and Gojek partner on audience targeting, ...

Partnership will enable advertisers to target Gojek audiences, run audience surveys and measure sales impact. Plus, it will soon offer unique IDs.

10 hours ago

Ogilvy consolidates offerings under one unit in AUNZ

Creative and brand specialties will merge with PR and Health under a newly created leadership team.

11 hours ago

MediaMonks hires Joao Flores as ECD in SEA, Korea ...

Flores is based in Singapore and his responsibilities are to develop creative partnerships with clients, influence teams across the region with a growth mindset and elevate the standards for creativity in the region.

11 hours ago

Move and win roundup: Week of March 1, 2021

Culture Group, Grey, UM, MediaMonks, IMMedia and more to come in our weekly collection of people moves and account news.