JWT has named a new head of Latin America and has added Brazil back into the mix.
Ten years ago, the WPP Group shop separated Brazil from the region, given that the country speaks Portuguese and the rest of the countries in the region speak Spanish. But economic shifts and a "need to stay ahead of trends" has prompted global CEO Bob Jeffrey to reannex Brazil.
Stefano Zunino, chairman of JWT Brazil Group, will steer Latin America as CEO, starting next week. Zunino, who's also worldwide head of digital, will retain his global role and continue to be based in Sao Paulo.
"We will try to, first of all, connect the region, reunite the region so that we share our knowledge," Zunino told Adweek. "The biggest challenge for me is trying, again, to digitize the different offices in the region. Also, Latin America is changing very, very rapidly."
The new regional chief succeeds Jimmy Evans, who had been president of Latin America and the Caribbean since 2003. Evans, who is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is shifting to sister shop Blue Hive in London, where he'll become European president.
Zunino is a veteran of JWT, having joined in 2005 from Interpublic Group's Lowe. Initially, he was CEO of JWT Brazil; he became chairman of the larger group, which includes subsidiaries Casa, i-Cherry and Mutato, in late 2011. He ceded his CEO role to Ezra Geld last summer, when he added his global digital responsibilities.
In a statement, JWT global president Gustavo Martinez said that Zunino's "proven track record and successful experience place him in good position to lead the reintegration of the region." Martinez added that the "sharing of experience between Portuguese-spending Brazil and Spanish-speaking LatAm will bring new pan-regional solutions for our clients and great new business opportunities for the network."
About 1,500 staffers work in the region, which spans about 20 offices in 14 countries, including Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela and Peru. The mix of local to global business varies from country to country, with Brazil, for example, getting more than half its business from local clients. That said, global clients like Unilever, Shell and Bayer employ multiple offices in the region.