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JWT Australasia boss John Gutteridge succeeds Tom Doctoroff as APAC CEO

John Gutteridge Tom DoctoroffJ. Walter Thompson is going through a leadership change in Asia Pacific with the news that Tom Doctoroff is returning to the US “to pursue a new opportunity.”

The Chinese-speaking American has worked for JWT for the last 24 years, the last three and a half as APAC CEO based in China.

He will be succeeded by John Gutteridge, the head of JWT’s Australasian operations.

The announcement from the agency:

New York, June 30, 2016___ After a high-profile career in Asia, J. Walter Thompson APAC CEO Tom Doctoroff is handing leadership of the region over to John Gutteridge, who’s long been marked as one of the J. Walter Thompson network’s rising stars.

“Tom’s indefatigable passion for building domestic and global brands, and his expertise on China has set him, as a business leader, and our agency, apart in this critical, high-growth market. He has left a real legacy of robust growth and thought leadership, not just in China but across Asia, for our network as a whole,” said J. Walter Thompson Worldwide CEO Tamara Ingram. “I’m confident John will build on that momentum. He is a strategic thinker and a decisive leader who injects a very infectious energy and passion into everything he does.”

The appointment is part of a long-term succession plan mapped out over the last year by Doctoroff and Gutteridge, who serves as the J. Walter Thompson’s Australia & New Zealand CEO, and sits on the network’s Asia Pacific Executive Committee.

Gutteridge began his career with J. Walter Thompson in the UK and ascended rapidly through the management ranks. In 2004, at the age of 30, he became Managing Director of J. Walter Thompson New Zealand; four years later was appointed Managing Director of J. Walter Thompson Melbourne, and in 2011 promoted to CEO of Australia and New Zealand.

Under his watch, J. Walter Thompson ANZ has evolved into diversified, integrated business, with digital and commercial at the core. The company acquired two digital agencies, Heyday and Webling, launched Colloquial, a new content business, and took management control of Evo, Australia’s first-ever shopper marketing agency, along with a raft of other new initiatives and offerings. Gutteridge also set up a new way of working designed to tear down silos, ensure collaboration and wring more synergies out of an increasingly diverse team of talent. The ANZ business has grown by more than 75% since he assumed leadership. Last year J. Walter Thompson was Australia’s second most globally-awarded agency, according to the Gunn Report, and ranked number one in the “All Guns Blazing” award, which rates the leading integrated campaigns.

Gutteridge, who is now 42, will work out of the network’s APAC office in Singapore in his role as regional CEO. “APAC is one of the most exciting places to be right now. We’re continually reminded of its importance in the global economy, and indeed the immense potential for so many businesses here,” said Gutteridge. “Tom has been an inspiration to many, and I admire the sense of community he’s worked hard to create across such a diverse group of countries. I’m looking forward to working with our leadership team to ensure we deliver a future focused model with a best in class product.”

Doctoroff, who has spent 24 years with the J. Walter Thompson Company, including 22 years in Asia, and 18 in China, is moving back to the U.S to pursue a new opportunity, which he will announce in due course.

Doctoroff, who started the Asia leg of his career in Hong Kong in 1994, became MD of J. Walter Thompson Shanghai in 1998. Under Doctoroff’s stewardship, JWT emerged as a powerhouse in China, both in terms of size and reputation, and is now one of the network's largest operations.  He was appointed Asia Pacific CEO in 2013. Doctoroff drove the expansion of the network’s field and shopper marketing offering and scaled up digital capabilities and services; under his leadership, J. Walter Thompson Asia Pacific achieved three straight years of record growth and profit. Doctoroff, who speaks Mandarin, is also one of the region’s most respected authorities on China’s consumer and marketing landscape and the author of two best-selling books on Chinese consumers.

“After so long in Asia, a culture I have fallen in love with, it is nonetheless time to go home and pursue the next chapter in my life,” said Doctoroff.

“I feel confident that I’m leaving a team and region I care deeply about in good hands. John has a proven ability to unify people around a clear philosophy that puts everyone on the same path to the same goal.

That’s a quality that is going to resonate well with staff and clients across the Asia Pacific region,” he said.

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