VMLY&R Melbourne adds two managing partners to the team

Paige Murphy
By Paige Murphy | 16 May 2019
Jon Kenyon, Sarah Bailey, Jake Barrow, Katherine Chen, Kenneth Chan.

WPP AUNZ-owned agency VMLY&R Melbourne has bolstered its leadership team with several senior hires following a period of strong new business growth and creative expansion.

Sarah Bailey and Jon Kenyon have been appointed to the newly created roles of managing partners, with Kenneth Chan joining the team as strategy director.

The move follows the agency's appointment to the Defence Force Recruiting (DFR) account earlier in the year, seeing Host/Havas losing its biggest account.

VMLY&R chief executive officer Aden Hepburn says the hires would add "significant grunt" to the already established team.

"We have built strong momentum post-merger delivering excellent growth and delivering on our plan to be a significant force in the Australian market. As we continue into 2019, our goal is to keep growing," Hepburn says.

"To do this, we needed to find the best local talent. We believe we’ve found that in Sarah, Jon and Kenneth, who are highly regarded leaders within our industry and bring a wealth of diversified experience to the agency. It’s a big coup for us to have a leadership team with their creativity and smarts and leadership skills join our business at this exciting and transformational time.”

Bailey and Kenyon will report directly to Hepburn, leading the agency with executive creative director Jake Burrow. 

In addition to their managing partner responsibilities, Bailey will lead the DFR account, while Kenyon will continue to lead production and build Melbourne's platform and CX capabilities across DFR and the agency's broader client roster.

Bailey brings 15 years' experience with her, previously a managing partner at DDB and head of business at Ogilvy where she led teams on accounts including ANZ, Telstra, AAMI, BP and Open Universities Australia.

Kenyon has been a senior leader at VML for several years running the agency’s largest transformation and innovation pieces of work including Australian Open, Charter Hall, McDonald’s, Think Conveyancing and Rip Curl.

Previously, Kenyon held tenures at agencies including Isobar and Big Red, as well as working client side with Fox Sports.

As newly appointed strategy director, Chan will lead Melbourne's strategy offering for all things non-DFR and support both current work and new opportunities for new and existing clients.

Chan brings with him a strong background in copywriting, journalism and management consulting across traditional advertising and digital experience.

The new appointments follow the hire of Katherine Chen who joined VMLY&R Melbourne in late 2018 as client services director with a remit to lead VMLY&R’s new brand experience offering.

Earlier this month, co-CEO Pete Bosilkovski exited the agency to "pursue his own business interests".

In a statement, Bosilovski says he had been enticed to join Y&R by the offer of a very specific brief to "revitalise the brand". 

Following the merger of WPP-owned agencies VML and Y&R, Bosilkovski had worked in a joint CEO capacity with Aden Hepburn, to integrate both brands as part of the global VMLY&R merger.

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