Brand Makers

Is Wendy Clark leaving Dentsu International?

According to multiple international reports, Dentsu International CEO is leaving the company. This comes after the network has gone through several changes and turmoil in the last one year.

By  Priyanka NairSep 2, 2022 9:47 AM
Is Wendy Clark leaving Dentsu International?
Wendy Clark

Dentsu International’s CEO Wendy Clark is reportedly stepping down, multiple international reports stated.

Storyboard18 reached out to the company for a statement but did not get a response at the time of filing this report. Clark took charge of the Japanese-owned advertising network on 1 September 2020. Prior to that, she was the global chief executive of DDB, the Omnicom-owned creative agency. Wendy is regarded as the most respected female agency leader in the global advertising circuit. She was previously a marketer at Coca-Cola.

At Cannes Lions this year, Clark made an official announcement on the creation of Dentsu Creative as the company’s lead creative agency network and her vision to set up “One Dentsu” strategy that will bring Dentsu Japan and Dentsu International’s businesses closer. Under her leadership, Dentsu Creative Bengaluru went on to win Ad Agency of the Year at Cannes Lions 2022 – the first time a Dentsu agency won the prestigious award. Dentsu is the world’s fifth largest agency group with about 65,000 staff. The international business outside Japan employs around 45,000 people.

Under Clark’s leadership, the network also went through an accelerated ‘transformation’. This massively hit Dentsu International’s operations globally and in India. A series of leadership changes, consolidations and dissolutions of agency brands has been happening, especially in India, over the past year and a half.

Few ad agencies have witnessed drastic changes in a short span triggered by a raft of reasons ranging from the pandemic slowdown to restructuring to internal audits at units over alleged malpractices.

As it happens, the exits are bad PR, ironic for a company that is in the business of communication, senior agencies heads of rival networks. While Dentsu International’s big ambition is also to simplify its structure, the effort is “confusing and complicated”, according to agency insiders Storyboard18 spoke to. It’s been a year and Dentsu International India is still on the hunt of a CEO. Interestingly, Robert (Rob) Gilby takes charge as CEO APAC, Dentsu International, on 5 September 2022.

A former senior leader of Denstu agency observes, “Clark got in American way of leadership. The brutal slice down of operations and head count could have been dealt better. The Japanese didn’t particularly like this approach.”

First Published on Sep 2, 2022 9:47 AM