Steve Aldridge has returned to the agency where it all began nearly 30 years ago to head up the creative team at the newly formed Wunderman Thompson, joining a senior UK management team dominated by Wunderman executives.
Aldridge started his career at Wunderman Cato Johnson in the late Eighties before joining forces with Phil Andrews to launch Partners Andrews Aldridge in 1998. The agency was eventually sold to Engine, with Aldridge going on to be ECD of Engine Group, as well as chairman and creative partner of Partners. He stepped down in May 2017.
At Wunderman Thompson, Aldridge will take the role of UK chief creative officer and succeed Ian Haworth, who has taken on a global position.
Global chief executive Mel Edwards has been at pains to stress that the merger – announced late last year – is not a Wunderman takeover, however, in the UK at least, the majority of senior roles have been handed to Wunderman chiefs.
The agency’s CEO Pip Hulbert has taken on the same role in the new entity, as has UK chief strategy officer and chairman Richard Dunn, chief experience officer Rob Curran and chief client officer Matt Steward.
Only two JWT executives – former director of client partnerships Simone Forster, who becomes UK chief growth officer, and former marketing director Kate Muir, who has been named UK chief business development officer – are in the senior team.
As if to hammer home the point, JWT London staff will move into Wunderman’s office in Greater London House, Mornington Crescent.
Edwards said: “Each person will play an instrumental role in creating and building a type of business and culture that stands apart from others. I have no doubt that this leadership team will help bring these two iconic brands together seamlessly in the UK.”
Hulbert added: “Growth is at the heart of everything we do and Wunderman Thompson defines that. I’m excited to lead an agency that fuses creativity, data and technology together to rethink business, culture and brand experiences.”
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