Wunderman Thompson UK chief executive Pip Hulbert has landed the top UK role at new “super agency” VML, which has been created by WPP’s merger of VMLY&R and Wunderman Thompson, announced in October.
Hulbert was promoted to CEO of Wunderman Thompson UK in 2017, having followed former Lida boss Mel Edwards to the agency in January 2013. She was charged with bringing together Wunderman and J Walter Thompson following their merger, and later leading the integrations of Acceleration, Mirum and Prism into the business.
VMLY&R co-CEO Justin Pahl will take on a new role within WPP, focusing on Walgreens Boots Alliance’s operations across WPP and VML, while his co-CEO Michelle Whelan, who is also CEO of VMLY&R Commerce, has been appointed UK chief client officer.
Over the past four years Hulbert has been credited with growing Wunderman Thompson to become one of the UK’s largest, most awarded integrated agencies, taking home over 1,300 wins and shortlists, including 21 grands prix and 128 golds across all major award shows.
Named an IPA Fellow, chair of the IPA Effectiveness Board, and established member of WACL, she has contributed to the launch of several industry-leading initiatives. Notably Magpie, Wunderman Thompson’s mentoring app, the launch of BRiM, a cross-industry initiative created to improve the representation of Black people in marketing, and most recently Project 65, the agency’s revised inclusive health offering.
Whelan will now be responsible for client relationship management, client planning and performance, she will bring together brand experience, customer experience and commerce to the agency’s client roster.
Meanwhile, Pahl will take on a new role within WPP as global client lead, focusing on Walgreens Boots Alliance’s operations across WPP and VML respectively. He took the lead of WPP’s integrated team for WBA, The Pharm, last year.
VML EMEA CEO Ewen Sturgeon said: “Pip will make a fantastic leader of VML in the UK. With proven experience bringing businesses together and a unique understanding of the full marketing ecosystem and what brands need to succeed tomorrow, I have no doubt Pip and the team will go on to achieve great things.”
Hulbert added, “I’m super excited to lead VML in the UK. Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R have hugely complementary skillsets matched with brilliant talent. Together we’ll be unstoppable!”
VML will be operational from January 1 2024.
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