Wieden+Kennedy Advertising

W+K changes structure to leadership team for “Stakeholders”


By Kyle O'Brien, Creative Works Editor

October 17, 2016 | 5 min read

After nearly 35 years of wildly successful campaigns and steady growth, global agency Wieden+Kennedy has decided to mix things up a bit, making changes to its organizational structure.

The company has announced a new global stakeholder group and a new leadership team to oversee its emerging markets. Global president Dave Luhr and Global chief creative officer Colleen DeCourcy wanted to help position W+K for success for the next 35 years of business, so they have added 15 new members to the current nine-person partner group, which has been renamed to more accurately represent the leaders' role in the future of the agency: Wieden+Kennedy Stakeholders.

“Our current nine-person partner group is based on a model we’ve outgrown,"said Luhr, who, together with DeCourcy, oversees the global W+K network, including eight offices worldwide in Amsterdam, Delhi, London, New York, Portland, Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Tokyo. "That group doesn’t reflect the breadth of perspective and skills we want to see in the next generation of leaders, and the next, and the next. Given the size and complexity of the agency, we need more decision-makers representing more offices, more disciplines and different voices. Our leadership needs to be a bigger and better reflection of the agency we have become,” said Luhr.

The agency, which was founded in 1982 by Dan Wieden and David Kennedy in Portland, is known for its steadfast independence and award-winning body of work. W+K Stakeholders will have a shared focus and role in making the agency a strong and creative leader into the next era, according to a company press release.

“We are focused on making work that is culturally relevant and influential, and that lives across more places and channels," said DeCourcy. "We are rethinking what 'work' is, embarking on unexpected collaborations, and seeking to grow in interesting, smart ways. This group is charged with pushing us further down these roads and others we haven’t even considered."

The W+K stakeholder group includes (new members are indicated by an asterisk:

  • Dan Wieden, Founder, Global Chairman
  • Dave Luhr, Global President
  • Colleen DeCourcy, Global Chief Creative Officer
  • *Claudia Valderrama, Chief Financial Officer
  • Kim Papworth, Executive Creative Director of Emerging Markets
  • *Karrelle Dixon, Director of Emerging Markets
  • Neil Christie, Managing Director, W+K London
  • Tony Davidson, Executive Creative Director, W+K London
  • *Iain Tait, Executive Creative Director, W+K London
  • *Paul Colman, Chief Strategy Officer, W+K London
  • *Helen Andrews, Deputy Managing Director, W+K London
  • *Neal Arthur, Managing Director, W+K New York
  • *Karl Lieberman, Executive Creative Director, W+K New York
  • Susan Hoffman, Executive Creative Director, W+K Portland
  • Tom Blessington, Managing Director, W+K Portland
  • Mark Fitzloff, Executive Creative Director, W+K Portland
  • *Joe Staples, Executive Creative Director, W+K Portland
  • *David Terry, Director of Strategic Planning, W+K Portland
  • *Alberto Ponte, Global Creative Director on Nike, W+K Portland
  • *Daniel Sheniak, Global Comms Director on Nike, W+K Portland
  • *Jessica Monsey, Group Account Director/Director of Publishing, W+K Portland
  • *Andre Gustavo, Managing Director, W+K Sao Paulo
  • *Eric Quennoy, Executive Creative Director, W+K Amsterdam
  • *Mark Bernath, Executive Creative Director, W+K Amsterdam

"In addition to making extraordinary work, this group exhibits, in abundance, qualities valued by W+K: creativity, inspiration, collaboration, leadership, vision and passion. They are leaders, focused on growing opportunities for the next generation of this place," said DeCourcy.

W+K also announced that Kim Papworth and Karrelle Dixon have been appointed to oversee the company’s emerging markets, in new roles as executive creative director, emerging markets and managing director, emerging markets, respectively. Dixon and Papworth will be based in London and will spend time at the Tokyo, Shanghai and Delhi offices, reporting directly to Luhr and DeCourcy.

“Along with our creativity and independence, the W+K network is a key strength of this agency. Our offices in Tokyo, Shanghai and Delhi are well positioned for future growth. Allowing Kim and Karrelle to focus on these markets will help drive that momentum even quicker,” said Luhr.

Previously, Dixon was global account director for the agency’s largest account, Nike, based near Portland, Oregon. She joined W+K London in 2006 as an account manager. Papworth was executive creative director for W+K London for 15 years, helping create campaigns for Nike, Honda and Nokia.

“These two are the best example of W+K’s belief in the power of partnership.

Karrelle’s incredible energy and curious mind are perfectly met by Kim’s quiet power and indelible legacy of timeless creative work. I’ve got high expectations.

It’s going to be fun to watch,” DeCourcy commented.

Founder and chairman Dan Wieden said, “I am so damn proud of this place. We started as a ship of fools, and that, I quite firmly believe is why we have succeeded for almost 35 years. But I really never thought we would be talking about the next 35. The hope is always that the next generation does better than the one before them. I think under the leadership of Dave and Colleen, and this inspiring group of new stakeholders, we just might be onto something."

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