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Karen Blackett named GroupM UK CEO as Tom George steps down

04 Mar 2020  |  Michaela Jefferson 
Karen Blackett named GroupM UK CEO as Tom George steps down

GroupM has appointed Karen Blackett OBE as its new UK CEO, with Tom George stepping down after two years in the role.

Blackett will be responsible for the strategy and operations of WPP's media investment group in the UK across all of its agencies, which include Mindshare, MediaCom, Wavemaker, Essence and m/Six. Her appointment will be effective from April this year.

She will also continue to hold her position as WPP's UK country manager.

“Karen has been an influential leader and change agent over the years, and we are thrilled to have her onboard,” said GroupM global CEO Christian Juhl.

“She is the perfect example of someone who brings to life our vision of making advertising work better for people."

Blackett has been with WPP for more than twenty years, having joined MediaCom in 1999. She became chief operations officer EMEA at the media agency in 2008, UK CEO in 2011 and chairwoman of MediaCom UK and Ireland in 2016.

In 2018 she was named as WPP's first UK country manager, responsible for delivering growth and attracting talent.

Blackett is also well-known in the industry for championing diversity and inclusivity in the workplace, and since 2018 has launched Your Bridge - a mentoring program in partnership with GroupM - and WPP Roots - a "cultural inclusion program", inspired by Ogilvy Roots, that focuses on attracting and progressing multicultural talent within the advertising group.

“I’m honored to take on the role of U.K. CEO for GroupM and I want to thank Tom George for creating such a strong position for me to step into,” Blackett said.

“This is an exciting time for the advertising industry, and I look forward to working with Demet [Ikiler] and Christian [Juhl] to keep up the amazing pace GroupM has set in the U.K. I feel we’ve only just begun and see so much opportunity across our agencies.”

Meanwhile, George - who joined WPP in 2005 as managing director of MEC UK, and became UK CEO of GroupM in 2018 - has said he plans to remain active in the industry as he steps down from the position.

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22 May 2020 

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