Change is never easy in a company. Mergers are more difficult still. After Y&R merged with VML, former Y&R CEO Pete Bosilkovski and former VML CEO, Aden Hepburn became co-CEOs. Bosilkovski left last month. Hepburn has now left also.
“I’ve had the most amazing time, loved every minute with the group, and couldn’t be prouder of our collective achievements. I leave the business in great shape and am excited to see what VMLY&R can do from here – the positioning, capability and promise of the agency is powerful,” Hepburn stated.
WPP AUNZ has appointed VMLY&R global chief retail and commerce officer, Jon Bird, as regional CEO of VMLY&R Australia and New Zealand, starting early July. He will be relocating back to Australia from New York to take up the role.
WPP AUNZ interim CEO, John Steedman, commented, “Jon’s global experience and network connections, teamed with his deep local knowledge and digital prowess, makes him the ideal choice to lead VMLY&R ANZ as it moves into the next phase of growth.”
Hepburn will transition out of VMLY&R full-time over the next several months as Bird settles into his new role.
Hepburn has said that he will leave the business in which he has spent the last fifteen years for a while, nearly seven of them at VML and nine at VMLY&R.
Bird moved to the US from his home in Sydney in 2014 to become managing director of Labstore, Y&R’s global retail and shopper marketing practice, which existed in 26 markets at the time. He became executive director, global retail and shopper marketing of VML in 2016, and chief retail and commerce officer of VMLY&R following the merger in October 2018.
Prior to his move to New York, he was a founding partner and CEO of Ideaworks in 2009, becoming executive chairman in January 2013 and before that he was director of retail marketing at M&C Saatchi in Sydney.
“Jon Bird is an exceptional leader, and a champion for breakthrough ideas. We’re excited to have him at the helm of this key market and as a member of the VMLY&R global leadership team,” stated VMLY&R global CEO, John Cook.
“I chose Aden to open the doors of VML in Australia in the first place. He built an incredible company and has led award-winning and transformational work across some of the world’s best brands. I thank Aden and wish him all the best for the future.”