WDMP co-founder and chief executive Gavin Wheeler has stepped down from the agency nearly two decades after it launched but just 18 months after Iris Worldwide took a major stake in the independent business.
The agency, which was launched in 2002 by Wheeler and his brother Craig, moved into Iris’ London office in November 2018 but remained a separate agency within the Iris network. It is not known how Gavin Wheeler’s departure will affect the future of the brand; Craig Wheeler remains managing director.
Gavin Wheeler started his career at AGB Nielsen Media Research and then had a spell at agency Promotional Campaigns before switching client-side as brand manager at Toyota, taking on the role of area sales manager after three years.
By 1997, he had joined Cable & Wireless as head of acquisition marketing, where he stayed for six years through its transition to NTL (now Virgin Media). In November 2001, he moved to Amazon to develop its pan-European CRM strategy.
Within a year he had joined forces with brother Craig – who had cut his teeth at IMP and The Marketing Store – and launched Wheelers Direct Marketing & Promotions.
Over the years, the agency worked for Talk Talk, Virgin Media, Amazon, Betfair, Carphone, Three, Aviva, TUI, Carbon Trust, Tesco Bank, BlackBerry, Hyundai, Hiscox, Just Eat and BP. However, it was its work for the now defunct Monarch Airlines which won it the most plaudits, picking up a DMA Grand Prix in 2013. But, contrary to industry opinion, WDMP was not hit by the Monarch crash, as it had already stopped working for the airline.
On LinkedIn, Wheeler wrote: “After 17 years of founding, building and running WDMP I have decided to step down and take a career break, well at least the summer off (I know it’s only March!). It has been an amazing journey, if somewhat of a roller coaster ride, and immense fun.
“Over the 17 years we won every effectiveness award going, but more importantly worked with an amazing talented team of people and attracted fantastic clients. Big thank you to all who were part of that journey. I am now available for cycling, sailing, rugby, coffees, lunches, sage advice, mentoring and the odd beer!”
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