MullenLowe Group UK is merging Profero and Open, its digital transformation and customer engagement units, to create "one end-to-end customer experience practice".
Peter Moody, managing director of MullenLowe Profero UK, will take charge of the new entity, which has not yet been named and will sit alongside MullenLowe London (the creative division) and Mediahub (which handles media).
Meanwhile, Anthony Hopper, global chief executive of MullenLowe Open, and Simon Goodall, its chief strategy officer, are leaving the business. The pair, who have led Open since 2012, are departing because it is "time for a change and a chance to pursue other opportunities", MullenLowe said in a statement.
Jeremy Hine, MullenLowe Group UK chief executive, told Campaign that the decision to merge the units had been in the offing since before the pandemic and was not a move to cut costs.
"I’ve been thinking about this for a while. There are a lot of parallels between the two – we know that digital and customer experience was coming tightly together. Our clients are supporting a view that we should bring these together, so it made sense rather than having two sets of strategy and positioning. That allows us, around our position of ‘hyperbundling’, to have three areas of focus – brand comms, digital media channels planning buying and analytics, and customer experience."
Profero and Open will remain international agency brands outside the UK and Hine expects to unveil the merged division's new branding "in a month or so". He also insisted that no roles are forecast to be lost through the merger, other than Hopper and Goodall, who decided "for themselves" that it was time to look for other opportunities.
In the UK, Profero and Open share a number of major clients, such as Diageo, Harley Davidson, Nord Anglia Education and Unilever, and is able to merge data teams, for example, who currently serve the same client. Instead of delivering digital transformation/user experience and CRM separately and handing over tasks, Hine said one strategic team will be able to offer a single end-to-end focus.
Interpublic-owned MullenLowe acquired Profero, an independent global digital agency network, in 2014, with founder and global chief executive Wayne Arnold leaving three years later.
Hopper said: "We’ve had an amazing eight years with MullenLowe Group and have enjoyed developing Open into a world-class customer engagement agency. As the business now starts a new chapter, it feels like the right time to step away."
Goodall added: "2019 was our best year ever for new-business wins, growth and awards, so we are proud to be leaving the business in great shape. We want to thank all our clients, partners and especially our people for making Open such a special place. We wish them and Pete every success for the future."