WPP Moves Maxus Executives to Essence

As WPP PLC consolidates some of its media agencies, it is the company's new digital buying agency Essence that will be adding a slate of new senior executives.

WPP recently announced that it's collapsing ad buying firm Maxus into sister agency MEC, but it turns out that consolidation won't include all of Maxus's leadership team.

Essence, which was acquired by WPP in 2015, is taking a handful of senior executives from Maxus as part of the restructuring.

Steve Williams, chief executive of Maxus Americas, will become North America CEO at Essence. Nick Baughan will become CEO of EMEA for Essence, after serving as CEO of Maxus U.K. Damian Blackden joins as chief strategy officer, after holding that same role at Maxus. Simeon Duckworth, a GroupM data executive, will also join Essence as global head of strategy and analytics.

They will all be "transitioning into their new roles over the coming months," the agency said.

The consolidation of Maxus into MEC will generate cost savings that could help Essence continue to expand into new markets and diversify its capabilities beyond its digital expertise. The senior appointments signal an even greater investment in Essence.

"For years, Essence has harnessed granular event-level data to deeply understand audiences, moments and outcomes to deliver world-class digital advertising," said Essence's global chief executive, Christian Juhl, in a statement. "Our firm intent is to apply the very same techniques, combined with machine learning and new modelling approaches, to inform targeting decisions and measurement across all media channels. This requires us to bring on leaders with a broad range of skill sets and experience."

It isn't immediately clear how Maxus's accounts will be divided up, but new business should help to diversify not only Essence's capabilities, but also its client base, which has been heavily skewed toward Google. Essence also works with clients like Target, Walgreens and the Financial Times.

Maxus, a nine-year-old firm with 70 offices, touts clients such as NBCUniversal and Barclays, which is currently under review.

Maxus, MEC and Essence are all part of GroupM, WPP's media agency network.

Write to Alexandra Bruell at alexandra.bruell@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 15, 2017 08:14 ET (12:14 GMT)