Wunderman Thompson South Africa Appoints CEO

Miles Murphy.

Wunderman Thompson South Africa appointed Miles Murphy as the new CEO. Murphy built a career in marketing and technology and is renowned for being the founder and director of Liquorice, an award-winning digital marketing agency launched in 2005.

Within a decade, the agency was thriving and attracted the attention of Publicis Groupe. Following a successful sale to this multinational communications network, Murphy was asked to stay on as COO within Publicis Groupe Africa, where he led 42 agencies across 36 African markets. 

Murphy said, ‘I have been watching the coming together of the agency over the previous 18 months and was enthused by the scale of aspiration and the parts of specialist best-of-breed legacy agencies in SA, including JWT, Aqua, Cerebra, Mirum, Applogix, Acceleration and The Hardy Boys. Each of these companies was first to market and the best in their specialist disciplines. How could I say no? I relish a challenge, and this one is perfect for me.’

Murphy commented on his new colleagues, ‘They represent all the expertise that we offer our clients. Our debate is open, honest and lively, but once we agree on a plan, we are a united front. My leadership team are one of the joys of this new role, and I feel honoured and humbled to be working with them.’

Murphy has prioritised relationship building as well as helping both staff and clients navigate through the disruption, ‘My primary concern is to protect the safety, wellbeing and livelihoods of my colleagues. I am also concentrating on maintaining exceptional client output throughout this phase. The lockdown has sped-up all the trends that the agency was already riding, and so the pandemic has somewhat fast-tracked our client’s adoption of technology-enabled communication channels. We have seen significant growth across these disciplines.’

Unpacking some of his future goals for the agency, Murphy expressed, ‘While many of the essential building blocks are already in place, I have joined Wunderman Thompson at a transformative time. We have a superb team, sought-after clients, and access to a global network, but there’s still much to do in raising the profile of the agency and the innovative work we create. Our team also increasingly acts as a centre of excellence for our global network, and we’re operating as a technology hub for clients worldwide, so we plan to expand this substantially. Over the next year or two, I want to significantly increase employment opportunities for South Africans in our sector by letting them work on local and global brands.’

Murphy’s vision is to build Wunderman Thompson SA into the leading tech-enabled integrated agency with creativity and innovation at its core. He intends to firmly entrench the agency as a growth partner to its clients with experts in innovation, data, digital, user experience, design and technology – inspiring consumers to connect with brands.