Australia’s 7th state?

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SYDNEY, Tuesday: Sixty-four people work at Wunderman Thompson NZ – but not one of them is authorised to talk to media. All official agency business comes out of WPP AUNZ’s head office in Sydney, and the agency operates for all the world as if NZ was Australia’s 7th state.

There’s no NZ-based ceo at Wunderman Thompson NZ – all WPP agencies in NZ operate under a “campus structure” and ultimately report into an Australia-based campus leadership, not into an individual ceo.

Yesterday, WPP Sydney informed media that Lee Leggett was taking over as “AUNZ” ceo from John Gutteridge. Both are based in Sydney but the release effectively masked this.

The release suggested to all who’d listen that Leggett and Gutteridge were virtual NZ residents.

“The release suggested to all who’d listen (including the usual suspects) that Leggett and Gutteridge were virtual NZ residents.”

M+AD chose not to run the news of Gutteridge’s departure and Leggett’s arrival until we could clarify where they were based, and who was calling the shots in NZ. And to be fair, the WPP PR people in Sydney promptly delivered all the information we sought.

A downside of this Oz-based “campus” leadership style is that the agency takes no part in the stimulating trivia of the day-to-day NZ ad world. Press releases of new work are rare, and the faces of the talent behind the work remain in shadow.

Lee Leggett
Leggett brings 20 years’ digital experience at advertising agencies and media agencies experience. She has spent the past four years consulting to Havas and Publicis, and worked working with WPP AUNZ in Sydney.

Prior to this, she held senior management roles in London and Sydney.

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