WPP to retire legacy agency Grey Creative Brand, to merge with AKQA as new network

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WPP has announced that it will be retiring its 103-year-old legacy agency, Grey Creative Brand and merging it with digital shop AKQA. Moving forward it will be officially known as a new creative solutions network called AKQA Group. 

The Group will house 6,000 employees across more than 50 countries and according to AdAge, AKQA Founder, Ajaz Ahmed and Grey Worldwide CEO, Michael Houston will lead the network as CEO and global president, respectively. The management and creative leadership teams will be announced in coming weeks, according to the company.

WPP also said the new network will launch with both the AKQA and Grey brands, and the two will be integrated over time into AKQA Group.

WPP CEO Mark Read told Ad Age many of the logistics are still being sorted out, reiterating that 

“Nothing will change on day one, we will integrate the companies in cooperation with our clients,” CEO of WPP, Mark Read told AdAge as he explained that many of the logistics surrounding the merger are still being sorted out. Mark also added that merging two companies in the middle of a pandemic is “obviously tough to do” and hence the process will not be rushed.

According to AdAge, the merger is not entirely surprising as there have been whispers in the industry of a Grey-AKQA mashup ever since Read took the helm of WPP in 2018 and began merging larger, struggling legacy creative brands with smaller digital players. 

Read says, on the branding aspect, the company didn’t want to create a “linguistic tongue twister” by naming the new network something like

Commenting on the name choice of the new network, Mark told AdAge that the company did not want to create a “linguistic tongue twister” by giving it a name such as AKQGrey.

Photo credit: https://www.grey.com/en

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