JWT Makes Major Leadership Changes in U.K., Europe

By Erik Oster 

JWT made several sweeping changes to its U.K. and European leadership teams. Most prominently, the WPP organization promoted London-based executive partners James Whitehead and Joe Petyan to positions as CEO of JWT London and European regional director, respectively. They will report directly to European CEO Toby Hoare, and Peytan will also remain in his role as WPP team lead for the global HSBC account.

“This is a great moment for us to expand James and Joe’s responsibilities and influence across J. Walter Thompson London and Europe. As we continue to drive entrepreneurialism and agility in London and across the region, they will provide all the right leadership for our people to best deliver this with our clients,” Hoare said in a statement.

Whitehead and Peytan became executive partners back in 2011, working with executive creative director to Russell Ramsey to lead JWT London. Prior to that they served as joint-managing directors. Both are longtime veterans of JWT, with Whitehead having first arrived as board account director and head of account management in 2004 and Petyan’s tenure stretching back to 1997.


In addition to the executive promotions, JWT made several new senior hires and promotions across multiple disciplines. The agency welcomed Emma Hoyle as director of talent for JWT London and Europe, Kate Muir was promoted to head of new business for the U.K. and Europe, Allan Blair was hired as head of digital planning and Simone Forster was promoted to the newly-created position of director of client partnerships.

Hoyle arrives at JWT after around four years as head of HR for Channel 4 and has also served in human resources roles at BBC, Channel 5 and The Labour Party. Muir has served as business director, Team Life for around a year and will be tasked with driving growth across the U.K. and Europe in her new role. Blair arrives from DDB & Tribal Worldwide London, where he served as head of strategy for nearly three years. He will be tasked with leading the agency’s planning across digital communications, social media, data, UX, platform, service design and business transformation for all key clients. Forster has served as a managing partner with JWT for over ten years, working with clients including Johnson & Johnson, Premier Foods and Kellogg’s. In her new role she will be tasked with “shaping the agency’s teams to raise the standard of client experience and partnership.”

“We have a phenomenally talented and diverse team in London and some exciting new arrivals. Together we’ll take all our creativity, agility and impact to the next level for J. Walter Thompson and our clients,” Whitehead said in a statement.

“The importance of our U.K. business relationship with Europe and the implications for our client brands has never been greater,” added Petyan. “Building on our successful combined 7 year partnership in London, James and I will continue to work closely together in our new roles.”