WPP has hired a top Walmart executive as its global chief people officer to integrate talent management across the advertising and media buying companies that make up the marketing and communications group.
Jacqui Canney will leave her post as chief people officer at Walmart, where she has been responsible for attracting, retaining and developing talent at one of the world’s largest private employers.
The appointment comes in the midst of a streamlining push by WPP, which is trying to simplify its structure of multiple individual companies in order to better serve the global brands that are its biggest advertising clients.
The group, which owns companies such as Ogilvy & Mather and GroupM, was built through acquisition by its former chief executive Martin Sorrell. It consists of dozens of companies specialising in media buying and planning, data analytics and creative advertising work for clients.
Mark Read, who was appointed WPP chief executive last September, said: “To do the best work for our clients we need to continue to attract the very best people.” He added Ms Canney would “play a central role as we create a strong new culture throughout WPP”.
WPP has been hit by a slowdown in spending by the largest consumer packaged goods companies. It has been trying to simplify its structure for clients for several months, merging some of its agencies, such as J Walter Thompson and Wunderman, and reducing headcount.