Ikon appoints chair Lesley Edwards to national CEO

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 7 February 2018
Lesley Edwards.

WPP AUNZ’s Ikon has appointed chair Lesley Edwards to national CEO, concluding a year-long agency leadership restructure.

It is the first time the agency has had a national chief executive since James Greet left the business three years ago.

Edwards, the founder of Ikon's Brisbane operation, has been with the business for six years and chair since June 2017.

She will continue to be based in Brisbane, and will be supported by Ikon’s national leadership team and managing partners in Sydney and Brisbane. As chair, Edwards has worked closely with COO David Gerrie.

WPP ANZ CEO Mike Connaghan says Edwards work as chair convinced the group that she warranted a more hands-on national CEO role and has been tasked with growing the business and moving the agency towards a stronger cross-office approach.

“Lesley has proven herself a strong and driven leader throughout her tenure with Ikon. As founder and managing partner the Brisbane office is at the top of the market,” Connaghan says.

“Lesley has already had a positive impact on the national business as Chairperson. I could not think of anyone better to take Ikon to the next stage of its evolution, and we are extremely lucky to have a person of Lesley’s calibre willing to take on the challenge.”

Edwards added: “David and I have spent the past six months looking hard at our business and thinking about our optimal leadership structure. I’m confident we’ve now got the team in place to support Ikon’s staff and clients for the agency’s next growth phase.”

Leadership restructure

In the past year, Ikon has made several key appointments pushing it towards a more aligned national operation. This includes Hugh McGilligan as its new national head of strategy and Pia Coyle as head of investment.

Last June, Sydney managing partner Pat Crowley stepped aside to focus on the agency's largest client CommBank, replaced by James Sawyer. Ikon Melbourne's managing partner Sharon Cookson recently left to take up the same role at crosstown rival OMD. When Edwards was promoted to chair, Chris Ernst became Brisbane MD.

Last week, the agency won media planning for Queensland Tourism and Events.

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