He replaces the flamboyant Neil French, who resigned in October last year following comments he made regarding women in the ad industry.
Putter has been the executive chairman and creative head of Ogilvy SA and chairman of the Ogilvy Worldwide Creative Council for the past ten years. He will retain the latter role and an Ogilvy SA non-executive directorship.
In an internal memo, WPP's chief executive, Sir Martin Sorrell, said: "Robyn sees his role as a leader of the creative union, representing the interests of all the creative people who work for WPP. He would like to promote partnerships between our business and creative communities."
Comment, page 36.