VML reveals its global creative leadership team

By AdNews | 22 January 2024
Debbi Vandeven.

VML has announced its global creative leadership team to be led by Debbi Vandeven, former global VMLY&R chief creative officer. 

The global agency was formed earlier this month with the merger of WPP’s VMLY&R and Wunderman Thompson.

“I'm thrilled to unite the wonderful creative talent from our two agencies," says Vandeven, now the global chief creative officer of VML.

"I have no doubt that we will work as a team to deliver brave, smart work that emotionally connects with people to deliver outstanding results for our clients. Anything we can dream up, we can create — we have the talent to do it. And that’s incredibly exciting,” Vandeven said.

Rafa Pitanguy, continuing as deputy global chief creative officer and global CCO for The Coca-Cola Company, has played a pivotal role since joining VML (then Y&R) in Brazil in 2016. He helped transform the agency into a top creative force across LATAM and worldwide. Pitanguy led the agency to consecutive Cannes Lions Agency of the Year awards in 2021 (for Good track) and 2022 (Entertainment).

Kaleeta McDade has been named global chief experience design officer (CXDO) and global CXDO, The Coca-Cola Company. McDade will continue to lead the agency’s growing experience design team, bridging creative storytelling, technology, design and user experience for clients across VML’s client portfolio.  

Manuel Bordé will serve as global chief creative officer, commerce. His remit covers global creative responsibilities for the agency’s leading end-to-end creative commerce capability. Bordé previously served as CCO lead for VMLY&R Commerce.

Mel Routhier has been promoted to global chief creative officer, health. Routhier joined VMLY&R in 2020 as chief creative officer in Chicago. In 2023, she served as jury president at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity for the Health & Wellness Lions.

Bas Korsten has been named global chief creative officer, innovation, and co-chief creative officer, EMEA. Korsten has served as global chief creative officer of Wunderman Thompson since 2019.  

Tom Tearle, VMLY&R ANZ's CEO, was last month appointed chief executive of VML ANZ. Gavin Bain, Wunderman Thompson CEO for Australia, becomes VML chief consulting officer ANZ and managing director, Perth.

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