Aden Hepburn becomes second CEO to exit VMLY&R

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 7 June 2019

VMLY&R AUNZ CEO Aden Hepburn has become the second top executive to exit the creative agency this year.

Hepburn had been sharing executive responsibilities with former Y&R CEO Pete Bosilkovski, both taking over as Co-CEOs following the VML and Y&R merger. Bosilkovski exited last month

“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 says.

WPP AUNZ today announced that VMLY&R global commerce leader Jon Bird will be relocating back to Australia from New York to take up the role of regional CEO of VMLY&R Australia and New Zealand, starting early July.

Currently VMLY&R’s global chief retail and commerce officer, Bird will take the reins from Hepburn, who will transition out of VMLY&R full-time over the next several months.

After over 15 years with the network, and 12 months bringing VML and Y&R together, Hepburn will take a break from the business.

Hepburn had been leading the VML business at the time of the merger.

WPP AUNZ interim CEO John Steedman said the team was excited about Bird’s imminent arrival back to Australia to lead VMLY&R.

“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," Steedman says.

Originally from Sydney, Bird moved to the US in 2014 to join what is now VMLY&R, to work at the intersection of digital and retail on a global level. Prior to his move, he was a founding partner and ultimately executive chairman of IdeaWorks.

Bird also served as director of retail marketing for 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," VMLY&R global CEO Jon Cook says. 

“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.”

In the short-term, Hepburn will focus his efforts on partnering with Bird on a smooth transition across VMLY&R’s client partnerships and the business as a whole.

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