WPP announces that Michael Houston, Global CEO of Grey, has been appointed as President of WPP’s business in the United States.
In this new role, which aligns with WPP’s country leadership structure in other major markets, Michael will represent the company in its largest market worldwide. WPP employs approximately 20,000 people in the US, where it has annual revenues of around $6 billion.
Michael will be responsible for promoting WPP’s offer and collective capabilities, supporting agency CEOs, and bringing together people and resources for clients. He will shape the company’s US campus strategy and play a key role in talent attraction and retention with a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion.
He will assist AKQA Group CEO, Ajaz Ahmed, with the transition to new leadership at Grey and will continue as a member of the WPP Executive Committee. As part of his new role, Michael will also serve as WPP’s Executive Sponsor for P&G.
Michael joined Grey in 2007. He was named Managing Director of Grey New York in 2011, CEO for North America in 2013 and Global CEO in 2017. In addition to Grey, Michael has held senior leadership positions at KB+P, Landor and Y&R, as well as founding a brand consultancy in the 1990s. He has worked across multiple functions of the marketing services business, including accounts, strategy, business development and corporate communications.
He sits on the board of Concern Worldwide, a global humanitarian group dedicated to tackling poverty and suffering in the world’s poorest countries. He also serves on the boards of the Institute of International Education, Effie Worldwide and the AdCouncil.
Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said: “The United States is our largest market and home to many of our most important clients. Michael is admired and respected across the industry and has made an exceptional contribution during his 15 years at Grey. I am delighted that he is taking on this important new role for WPP, supporting our people and agencies and bringing the best of WPP to our clients.”
Ajaz Ahmed, CEO of AKQA Group, said: “With our positive growth trajectory and momentum, we look forward to the continuing partnership with Michael to inspire and enable our people to thrive, unlocking unrivalled expertise that will fuel innovation on behalf of the clients and audiences we serve.”
Michael Houston said: “I am honored to become the first President of WPP in the US, eager to work across the company, having spent so much of my career at our agencies, and humbled to partner with the most creative minds in the industry. We have a unique opportunity to deliver transformational results for our clients and drive growth through greater collaboration across our powerhouse agencies. Together, we can unleash our unrivalled capabilities and diverse talent in every discipline to usher in a bright future for our clients, people and communities.”