Longtime WPP Executive Blackett Stepping Down After 29 Years At The Company


WPP announced today that Karen Blackett, UK country president, is leaving after nearly 29 years with the company.   

Blackett is set to depart this summer to pursue other interests and opportunities, according to the company.   



She joined WPP via media agency MediaCom (now part of EssenceMediacom), rising to become UK CEO.  

Blackett also spent three years as COO of MediaCom EMEA. In 2020 she became UK CEO of GroupM, and is credited with leading the company through a time of significant transformation and uncertainty due to the global pandemic.  

Blackett has been a staunch advocate for greater industry diversity and business generally. She played a central role in WPP’s response to the murder of George Floyd and its repercussions around the world.  

In 2011, she introduced the first government-backed apprenticeship program in the media sector, and in 2018 she was appointed by the UK Prime Minister as Race Equality Business Champion. More recently she was instrumental in the creation of the UK Inclusion Board to share learnings and elevate best practice policies around DEI companywide. 

And her contributions have been recognized beyond the advertising and media industries. She has topped the UK's EMpower, HERoes and Powerlist rankings, and been featured in the Vogue 25 Most Influential Women in Britain. In 2014 she was awarded an OBE for services to media and communications.   

CEO Mark Read stated: “Karen has continually been a positive force for change in our industry and her commitment and unwavering loyalty to WPP and our clients have benefitted the company in many ways.”  

Blackett said: “I will miss our brilliant people in our agencies, our clients and the creativity of our teams. I am always on a growth journey, and the time is right to pursue this outside of WPP.”  

Separately, in the U.S. today  EssenceMediacom confirmed a leadership change.  


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