Cruickshank will take over from Brendan Tansey, who is switching to a new role within WPP. Ironically, she will now be in charge of her former boss and Lida co-founder David Harris, who is executive creative director.
Harris quit Lida in May 2009 and has been at Wunderman ever since.
Cruickshank joined Lida in 2000 as a group account director, having worked at many of the DM industry’s founding agencies, including MRM, Smith Bundy, GGT Direct and TBWA/GGT. She is credited with being integral to the growth of Lida, which for many years operated in the shadow of M&C.
During Cruickshank’s time in charge, the agency has had a highly successful run of new business, picking up accounts including O2, Boots, Ikea, Bmi and Mini. Just last week it scooped the £5m National Trust brief.
She was promoted to chief executive from managing director in 2009 after Lida co-founder Lisa Thomas took on the role of M&C Saatchi Group chief executive.
Cruickshank will report to the Wunderman chairman and chief executive Daniel Morel and is expected to join later this year.
Morel said: “Mel’s in-depth knowledge of digital marketing is what clients look for; in a world that is always on, they want to know what works in social, what levers to pull in mobile, and what business outcomes will result.
“That, combined with an entrepreneurial leadership style and a keen appreciation for how insights drive the creative process, makes her the right leader for our UK operation.”
Tansey has been at Wunderman UK since January 2008, joining from Euro RSCG Australia. He oversaw the rebrand from Harrison Troughton Wunderman, which was disbanded following the departure of Steve Harrison and Martin Troughton.
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