New WPP branding shop Superunion names first North American CEO, Sabah Ashraf

Design and innovation veteran Sabah Ashraf hired as chief executive WPP branding group Superunion's North America region / Superunion

About a month after launching, the newly combined WPP branding and identity shop Superunion announced the appointment of its first chief executive for the North America region, Sabah Ashraf.

Most recently, the new executive served as president of NYC-based innovation and design studio ICrave. Ashraf has spent over 15 years in senior management roles at creative firms, at design firms such as Frog Design and Ideo, where her responsibilities included building teams, managing operations, leading strategy and spearheading business development.

Ashraf began her career in investment banking and private equity where she focused on M&A, consumer products and business services. After receiving her MBA from Columbia University, she worked at Frog Design and spent a decade growing the business and working across their global leadership team. Throughout her career, she’s maintained key relationships with and helped to build top-tier brands that include MTV,Nike, NBC, Hilton Worldwide and PepsiCo.

In a statement, Ashraf said that Superunion — born from the alignment of WPP branding firms and consultancies (Brand Union, The Partners, Addison Group, Lambie-Nairn and VBAT) — represents an industry-redefining moment.

“We are in an incredible position with the combination of the talent of these renowned global agencies to build an offer that represents a trusted, more central advisor relationship with clients, Ashraf said. “We are uniquely positioned to partner with executives to define their brand purpose and express their vision in a meaningful way for their customers, employees and financial community. In joining Superunion, I am excited to not only collaborate with our clients such as Estee Lauder, Diageo, Aetna, Ford, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Pfizer, InterContinental Hotel Group and Vodafone, but also to promote horizontality across WPP.”

A ‘convergence of the facets of her career path,’ Ashraf adds, “I’m excited to play a leadership role for our global team with an offer that encompasses my diverse background. My foundational years in finance engaged with CEOs, coupled with the years I spent leading creative organizations, puts me in an ideal position to understand both the business and brand needs of our clients.”

Superunion’s executive chairman Simon Bolton, agreed, considering Ashraf the perfect leader for the agency’s North American group. He said, “Sabah brings a unique set of experiences to lead and grow our organization in North America. Not only does she strengthen what we can offer our clients, but her expertise is an ideal fit for the Superunion of today and moving forward. We could not be more excited to have her lead our New York team.”

He continued that Ashraf has oversight in building out an identity for the North American region, and that one of her main tasks is positioning the new business for significant growth across North America. “As our expertise throughout the world is applied to the US market, I see growth in multiple forms: how we interact with the US market, expanding our client base and how the US market engages with our company’s offer globally.”

Ashraf joins a team of approximately 750 globally, helmed by Bolton and global chief Jim Prior.

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