GroupM adds financial rigour with CFO appointment

James McGrath
By James McGrath | 27 May 2015
GroupM's chief financial officer, Jeff Hunt.

GroupM has created a chief financial officer role as the WPP arm re-works its management structure in the wake of John Steedman's impending departure and the ongoing search for a new CEO.

Jeff Hunt has been named as the man for the job, which did not previously exist in Australia. Previously, GroupM used a shared service through WPP regionally for its financial matters.

While the shared service will still handle invoicing, the new appointment was made with the new CEO in mind.

The defection of Danny Bass to IPG Mediabrands is thought to have thrown a spanner in GroupM's succession planning as many thought Bass would slide into the role. It is still not known who will take on the CEO role and it's likely that GroupM is looking to shore up its senior management as it prepares for the departure of Steedman, who will stay on in a consulting capacity for several months.

The new CFO will also be tasked with overseeing the financial operations of the Australian arm, taking input from the individual agency CFOs.

With GroupM on the lookout for a CEO, the group decided to go to market for a CFO to give the new CEO support in strategic matters when they step into the chair.

Hunt comes to GroupM from Hong Kong, where he served as the senior vice president and CFO in the Asia Pacific region for software company CA Technologies.

“Jeff is a highly motivated, results-oriented and commercially savvy finance leader with a significant amount of experience on the financial front in Australia, Asia Pacific and North America,” GroupM Australia chairman and CEO John Steedman said.

“His broad leadership experience will be a strong complement to our agency CFOs and we are pleased to have him on board.”

As previously revealed by AdNews, Steedman is due to depart the agency in June, with regional CEO Mark Patterson to step into the role in an interim basis if a replacement is not found imminently.

Hunt begins in the role today.

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