Laura Maness becomes Grey Group’s first female Global CEO

Laura Maness has made history as the first female CEO of WPP’s Grey group.  The former Havas leader becomes the sixth chief executive of the 105-year-old agency and the latest helmswoman to continue the transformation the agency embodies.

Commenting on Laura’s choice for the C-suite position, Mark Read, CEO of WPP said: “Laura believes in the power of what we do to make a difference in the world, and has an impressive track record of delivering growth for agencies, their people and their clients. Grey is known for outstanding creativity that produces outstanding results, and I’m sure that reputation will only grow under Laura’s leadership.”

Similarly, Ajaz Ahmed, Group CEO AKQA which merged with Grey in 2020 has this to say: “Having built a culture of camaraderie, creativity, innovation, meaning, and impact at Havas, Laura is the right person to lead the revolution on a significantly larger canvas: that of Grey globally,”

Maness, who is elated, views the appointment as an incredible opportunity “to galvanise and grow such a storied and celebrated ad agency like Grey. One of my favorite quotes is ‘every day is a chance to begin again and this really is a new beginning.”

Maness joins from Havas, where she led the agency as the New York CEO, and previously held U.S. chief growth officer and managing director of Chicago roles at the agency. Her pitch as a leader who wants to instill a values-led growth culture, while scaling their collective impact, argued she has a track record for doing so after taking Havas through the B-Corp certification was instrumental to her getting the number one jo at Grey. It spoke to the needs of Grey which has undergone significant upheaval within its leadership team over the past six weeks. Former CEO Michael Houston switched roles within WPP to become the holding company’s first North American president. Earlier this month, two of its top creatives, global creative chairman John Patroulis and New York CCO Justine Armour, left the agency for personal reasons. Debby Reiner, who served as the global client lead for Grey Worldwide and global client lead for the P&G account, retired. She was replaced by Stacey Shelly on the P&G account and Jason Kahner took on the global client lead role.  Andre Gray recently left for a chief creative officer role at Annex88, a Havas agency.

Maness’ goal is to make Greys’ values very clear to employees to ensure “everyone is empowered to contribute and make decisions that hold each other accountable and hold ourselves to the highest standards when it comes to social and environmental impact.”



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    No comments found.