AKQA’s Wieynk Is Latest Hire by Publicis Global Chief

Charged with U.K., Nordic operations

Since taking on global CEO responsibilities at Publicis six months ago, Arthur Sadoun has moved quickly to assemble a new team in the network’s key markets. The latest to join those ranks is Guy Wieynk, a 16-year veteran of AKQA, who is being named to the new position of chief of Publicis’ group operations in the U.K. group and the Nordics.

Wieynk, most recently vp of international at the digital agency, has helped build AKQA's global presence. He joined in London and was promoted to manage its New York office and then Europe before assuming his most recent international role. It was his experience that made him stand out from a short list of candidates.  (He was clearly Sadoun’s top choice for the job: the Publicis CEO said the hire took six months of talks with Wieynk and as late as last week it still wasn’t finalized.)

“I knew I had to find someone truly transformational to bring a new vision of the market and have the ability to lead our clients in their own digital revolution,” Sadoun said. “What I like about Guy is he’s truly an entrepreneur and understands digital on a worldwide scale. On top of that I’m sure he’ll be a great CEO for the people who are already in place.”

The London-based Wieynk will oversee company units in the U.K. like Publicis London, POKE, Publicis Chemistry and Publicis Blueprint. In the Nordic region, he has oversight of Finland’s Skaandali Publicis, Publicis Norway’s Kitchen and Publicis Denmark’s Reputation.  Additionally, Wieynk joins Publicis’s global management board.

Sadoun said 40 percent of Publicis revenue in the U.K. comes from digital, compared to 35 percent for the global network. The company works for multinational marketers like Renault, Nestlé, L’Oreal and Procter & Gamble.

Wieynk reports directly to Sadoun and will be a larger influence at Publicis beyond his geographic responsibilities. Publicis doesn’t have a global digital chief with Sadoun believing digital expertise should be grounded in individual agency leadership. 

“Guy will help build a digital strategy for the brand, but one with local capabilities,” Sadoun said. “He will play a key role in making sure we have very good people around the world and make us even more competitive in our digital capabilities.”

In the U.K., Wieynk replaces Nigel Jones who left last September to join Draftfcb, now FCB, as global chief strategy officer. Wieynk won’t be joining Publicis until the end of the year as he serves out his contract at AKQA, now owned by WPP. 

By the time Wieynk actually assumes his role, he may find himself working at a new Publicis Omnicom Group, a proposed merger which has been delayed and one whose completion has been publicly questioned. Asked if Publicis marketers have voiced concerns about the future of the transaction, Sadoun shrugged off “noise” in the media and said that from the time of the merger announcement last July, clients have been told it will be business as usual. “That’s just what’s it’s been: business as usual,” Sadoun said.

Sadoun’s other major hires include: Dylan Williams as global chief strategy officer, who was previously at Mother London; Andrew Bruce, North American CEO, moving from Publicis Canada; and Carla Serrano, who joined Publicis North America as chief strategy officer after serving as CEO at Naked. In addition, Sadoun tapped Loris Nold, a close associate from Publicis Groupe as CEO of APAC; Andrew Baxter, the ex-Ogilvy chief in Australia, who is now CEO of Australia; Lou de LaPena, appointed CEO of Singapore after working at TBWA; Saatchi exec Pedro Simko named managing director, Western Europe and Roberto Lima, brought on as chairman of Brazil, who was previously CEO of Vivo, Brazil’s largest telecommunications company.