WPP launches new health and wellness sub-holding company

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The agencies will continue to operate under their current brands, but will pool resources and talent under a united leadership.

WPP has grouped all its health-oriented specialist agencies under a new umbrella: WPP Health & Wellness.

The announcement confirms Campaign’s sister publication MM&M’s report that the sub-holding company will be led by global chief executive Mike Hudnall, formerly global client leader for WPP and chief executive of Team Pfizer.

The holding company will include four specialist agencies: Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide, Sudler & Hennessey, ghg and CMI/Compas.

Combined, the four agencies generated an estimated $415.5 million in North American revenue in 2015, according to MM&M figures.

Previously, the healthcare agencies at WPP were housed under the Branding & Identity, Healthcare and Specialist Communications group, which made up 27 percent of WPP's 2015 revenue.

The agencies will continue to operate under their current brands, but will pool resources and talent under a united leadership.

All four agencies will continue to operate under separate P&Ls but will report into a consolidated P&L under the new holding group.

In the Americas, the agencies will continue to be led by their current leadership: Jed Beitler (Sudler & Hennessey); Lynn O’Connor Vos (ghg); Stan Woodland (CMI/Compas); and Ogilvy CommonHealth’s four managing partners (Darlene Dobry, Michael Parisi, Shaun Urban, and Marc Weiner).

For the rest of the world, the company is creating hubs in Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.

Claire Gillis, formerly chief executive of ghg Europe, will lead this international division as international chief executive, specialist agencies.

"Individually our healthcare agencies are well known and respected for their strong partnership and meaningful work they deliver for our clients," said Hudnall. "This new structure centres on keeping those brands and cultures alive, builds on those strengths, and enables new cross-agency collaboration that will benefit our clients and provide greater career opportunities for our people."

WPP Health & Wellness is also tasked with creating a health consulting firm within the group. The service will scale the groups current brand strategy, medical affairs, and market access capabilities.

The new group will also work with WPP firms such as Kantar, Group M and Wunderman to build data and analytics capabilities in health.

Wunderman Health chief executive Becky Chidester told MM&M that Wunderman Health will continue to report to parent company Wunderman, but will collaborate closely with the new group.

"Health and wellness is one of the most exciting sectors of the global economy and offers enormous opportunities for our businesses," said Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP. "This new unit is significant because it represents the next evolution of horizontality, through which WPP will continue to lead and transform health marketing."