Marketing Report
VML announces Pip Hulbert as UK CEO

VML announces Pip Hulbert as UK CEO

VML has announced the appointment of Pip Hulbert to UK CEO.

Since joining Wunderman 11 years ago, Pip rose from chief operating officer to CEO. In 2019 Pip was named UK CEO of Wunderman Thompson, bringing together Wunderman and J. Walter Thompson, and later leading the integrations of Acceleration, Mirum and Prism into the business.

Over the last four years Pip has grown Wunderman Thompson to become one of the UK’s largest, most awarded integrated agencies, taking home over 1300 wins and shortlists, including 21 Grands Prix and 128 Golds across all major award shows.

Under Pip’s leadership the agency has also won five consecutive Campaign Agency of the Year titles, including the publisher’s first Integrated Agency award, and contributing to Wunderman Thompson being named Global Integrated Network of the Year 2022.

Named an IPA Fellow, chair of the IPA Effectiveness Board, and established member of WACL, Pip has contributed to the launch of several industry-leading initiatives. Notably Magpie, Wunderman Thompson’s award-winning mentoring app, the launch of BRiM, a cross-industry initiative created to improve the representation of Black people in marketing, and most recently Project 65, the agency’s revised inclusive health offering.

Michelle Whelan has been named UK Chief Client Officer. Responsible for client relationship management, client planning and performance, Michelle will bring together Brand Experience, Customer Experience and Commerce to the agency’s client roster, helping them realise their full growth potential.

Michelle was previously co-CEO of VMLY&R and CEO of VMLY&R Commerce, and instrumental in driving the integration of Commerce into Cx & Bx. Michelle has contributed to a number of significant new business wins and client growth in the UK including The Coca Cola Company, SC Johnson, Diageo and Colgate. In 2022, Michelle joined WACL’s executive team to lead WACL’s talent awards. Before VMLY&R, Michelle held the position of CEO for Geometry UK.

Justin Pahl will take on a new role within WPP as Global Client Lead, focussing on Walgreens Boots Alliance’s operations across WPP and VML respectively. Justin took the lead of WPP’s integrated team for WBA, The Pharm last year, helping Boots deliver a £4 ROI for two of the biggest Christmas campaigns in their history before winning Best Client/Agency Partnership at the Oystercatchers Awards. Earlier this year, The Pharm launched Boots’ biggest health campaign and entered the brand’s third year of its landmark Love Island sponsorship. Prior to joining VMLY&R UK as co-CEO in 2019, Justin spent ten years at AMV BBDO in roles including Head of Account Management, Managing Partner, Managing Director and Group Chairman.

Under Michelle and Justin’s leadership VMLY&R was named Campaign’s Integrated Agency of the Year 2022, a Top 25 Employer by Investing in Ethnicity and received an IPA Platinum Accreditation for Continuous Professional Development 2 years running. Last year VMLY&R launched the Home of Connected Brands at WPP’s Sea Containers Campus, a full 3D floor-to-ceiling sensory experience capable of recreating more than 150 physical and virtual retail environments where brands can prototype and test.

Ewen Sturgeon, EMEA CEO, VML: “Pip will make a fantastic leader of VML in the UK. With proven experience bringing businesses together and a unique understanding of the full marketing ecosystem and what brands need to succeed tomorrow, I have no doubt Pip and the team will go on to achieve great things.”

Pip Hulber: “I’m super excited to lead VML in the UK. Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R have hugely complementary skillsets matched with brilliant talent. Together we’ll be unstoppable!”

In October VML was formed, uniting two of the most awarded creative agencies in the world, each with world-class commerce, customer experience and marketing technology capabilities. VML will be equipped to support clients on creative brand growth strategy and transformation initiatives, all powered by best-in-class data operations, technology platforms and partnerships with leading technology companies. It will also provide an exceptional offer for healthcare companies and B2B marketers.

VML will be operational from January 1st, 2024, with the integrated team based at Sea Containers later that year.