MullenLowe Jeremy Hine & Claire Holland

Five Reasons Why

Five Reasons Why.. MullenLowe UK Shifts Up A Gear

The agency has appointed Claire Hollands as its new chief executive. We talk to outgoing CEO Jeremy Hine on why it's time to wield a baton of change & about his new role

By Creative Salon

MullenLowe UK has promoted its managing director Claire Hollands to be its new chief executive as Jeremy Hine steps down after five years in the role.

Hine will remain within IPG in a soon-to-be-announced new role, while Hollands will take over as CEO in July.

Five Reasons Underpinning A Gear Change at MullenLowe UK

  • The agency has been quietly busy targeting brands looking for a joined-up approach. Earlier this year, MullenLowe Profero and MullenLowe Salt were rolled into parent company MullenLowe. The digital marketing agency and strategic communications agency no longer act as standalone brands, and instead exist as business units within the group. This is an indication of where MullenLowe UK sees its future.

  • The move marked a culmination of Hine's five-year transformation journey - combining brand purpose, through-the-line advertising, digital platforms, CX, UX, CRM, social, sustainability consultancy, strategic communications, production and design. This delivers a new look and feel for the agency to enable it to create bold, joined-up ideas.

  • Since the restructuring of the business from four units (MullenLowe London, MullenLowe Profero, MullenLowe Open and MullenLowe Salt) to one , Hine has sought to keep the best of the capabilities and build new ones (particularly around social and data), and bring in stellar senior talent (Nicky Bullard, former European chairwoman and UK CEO at MRM, as group chief creative officer last year, while Hollands was bought in from AMV BBDO in 2021). He has also upped the creative and new-business credentials of a once-struggling agency. The agency has won Bayer, Co-op, Ferrero and Bupa under Hine’s leadership.

  • The move also chimes with cultural changes afoot at MullenLowe UK. Hine inherited an executive team that was 90 per cent male and 100 per cent white. As of next month, it will be 60 per cent female and 22 per cent non-white. The promotion of Hollands as CEO also marks the first time the agency has had a female CEO since 2008, when Amanda Walsh stepped down from the role (when the agency was called Lowe London).

  • Reporting to Kristen Cavallo, MullenLowe Global CEO, and chief executive of The Martin Agency, Hollands will carry forward the creative ambition and cultural integrity set in motion by Hine.

We talk to Hine, responsible for the transformation of the group into the single brand MullenLowe UK, on why the time is right for this step change. And though, not quite preserved in aspic, why has he maintained a rather low profile in the industry while trying to renew the fortunes of the agency?

Hine, the former president of MullenLowe Group EMEA, was appointed CEO MullenLowe Group UK in 2018 to replace Dale Gall. He's been part of the MullenLowe Group network for more than two decades. In that time he has run global businesses, including Stella Artois and Unilever, led domestic offices in Asia, and run both the CEE and EMEA regions.

Creative Salon: Why the change now - in your fifth year at the agency?

Jeremy Hine: This has been planned for a while. And it's always been part of my plan to find my successor. We were delighted to find Claire when we did, and for her to be ready to step in and take over is just brilliant. I've always believed in internal succession, and having a female CEO - the first since Amanda Walsh - is great. For me, five years running a network agency is quite a long stint. I've done 22 - of the last 23 years - at MullenLowe. This (MullenLowe UK) has been my home for five years. So this feels a little bit weird. It's like sort of handing over a child in some way. I don't think there's anyone better than Claire, who has found a real home here too. Alongside the exceptional team of Tom Knox, Nicky Bullard, Ayesha Walawalkar, Lucy Taylor, Peter Moody and Siobhan Brunwin.

I think this [move] will force a reappraisal of MullenLowe UK in the industry. We have been growing, we have been evolving. Claire's appointment is a testament to that story. An exciting next chapter to MullenLowe UK's story.

Also there's an exciting role for me within IPG, supporting the group's wider network to get stuck into.

You have always flown under the radar, while quietly rebuilding this agency? Was that a strategic move?

Jeremy Hine: Yes, I do have quite a low profile but that's because I've been on the international circuit for a very long time. There are lots of jazz hands in our industry, and I am not one of them. Also let's not forget a lot of my work has been focused on international clients. And my stints across Europe, Russia, Thailand, Middle East, and Africa. So I'm not surprised my profile is relatively low. Also I'm not a massive profile chaser. My modus operandi is just to get on with it and get the job done.

It's been a phenomenal journey both for me and the business. And personally for me, having been at the company for 22 years has been great. To see MullenLowe UK grow back to health and doing it through personal adversity, with losing my wife within the first six months of my tenure here, has been an interesting journey for me. Hopefully it can be perceived as a turnaround story.

I think my job here is done.

What will your legacy be?

Jeremy Hine: I think the operational legacy would be bringing MullenLowe back to health and making it a credible force in the UK market. And my human legacy has been creating a more inclusive, more diverse culture at the combined group.

Our community has gone from 11 per cent non- white to 23 per cent. We've cut the gender pay gap by a third. We were IPA Effectiveness Network of the year. We've been winning new business, our work is great and you will see it becoming stronger.

What kind of leadership skills or style will Hollands bring?

Jeremy Hine: She's very driven and likes to challenge. But she challenges in a constructive way. she will bring people with her.

Claire is good around the work. She's good around the strategy. She's strong operationally. And she's good with people. She doesn't suffer fools. And clients like her and trust her, as the people do here. So she might make a little bit more noise than me. But she will roll up her sleeves and get on with it.

"This (move) will force a reappraisal of MullenLowe UK in the industry. We have been growing, we have been evolving. Claire's appointment is a testament to that story. An exciting next chapter to MullenLowe UK's story. Also there's an exciting role for me within IPG, supporting the group's wider network to get stuck into." Jeremy Hine


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