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Lindsay Pattison to bring ‘new thinking’ to GroupM in chief transformation officer role

Lindsay Pattison will introduce ‘new thinking across the board’ at GroupM

Maxus global CEO Lindsay Pattison has been handed additional responsibilities by GroupM in the form of a new post titled ‘chief transformation officer’.

As well as continuing in the Maxus CEO role, she will be tasked with implementing change – in areas such as diversity, talent-management and leadership – in order to bring about “new thinking” across the organisation.

Pattison is often mentioned as a possible successor for her boss and CEO at the holding company WPP, Sir Martin Sorrell. Following the appointment, he said: “GroupM and its agencies are key to WPP’s horizontality strategy. Lindsay will play a crucial role in accelerating our delivery of new and innovative service structures for clients.”

Pattison herself claimed to be “delighted and honoured” on Twitter. And in an official statement, she added: “The World Economic Forum calls it the ‘fourth industrial revolution,’ a technological revolution and one that requires two key skills to succeed: collaboration and agility. New thinking is required across the board, and I’m delighted to take on this new transformation role.”

Pattison will still sit on GroupM’s global executive committee and report directly to Kelly Clark, global CEO of GroupM. Clark said: “Clients need us to think differently and work smarter. Pattison will help us deliver on those challenges. I’ve worked with her for many years. She’s a force, and holds the respect of clients and colleagues. She will make a huge impact with her smarts, energy and warmth.”

During an exclusive interview with Mumbrella Asia in March, Pattison spoke candidly about her own leadership style. “As people move up in seniority, they often make the mistake of thinking that the job title gives them power,” she said. “But really you’re not ever in full control and the lesson you learn is it’s all about influence. I will lead from the front with strategy and vision, and ensure that I am personally invested in the business.

“I will always be on the horse leading the charge but one person can never save a company or drive everything. What you need is to inspire and influence everyone around you. Your team must be able to give you input and you must be transparent, and communicate well with them. There should be as little hierarchy as possible.”

Going further, she added: “My personal management style is much more open and inclusive than some. You need to be empathetic. These days you need EQ as well as IQ to run a business.

“Agency bosses need to show an interest in all elements of their businesses and to be curious about the ideas offered by younger colleagues; Gen Y expect to see you as a person, not just someone setting targets and wearing a suit. You can reveal differences, and you can reveal vulnerabilities at times. You don’t always have to have the answer to every solution, but you should show your approachability and humanity.”

To read the full interview, click here.

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