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Inter-company moves

WPP supports and encourages our people to experience the Group as a marketplace with career opportunities spanning all our companies.

Below we feature cross-company professionals from the WPP world:

Andre Nair - GroupM South-East Asia PacificAndre Nair
From MindShare South Asia to Mediaedge:cia Asia-Pacific

There are two phases to my WPP career. The first was 18 years with Ogilvy and in 1997, working with John Steedman (current chairman of MindShare Asia-Pacific), to launch MindShare in six Asian markets - in effect the first operational MindShare offices globally.

I left the company in 1998 and, after a short stint at another media company, I took up the job of CEO MindShare South Asia in late 2001; my immediate job was to set up and launch the company.

When the current chairman of Mediaedge:cia Asia-Pacific transferred to run MEC EMEA, the MEC Asia-Pacific position was offered to me as an opportunity within WPP's media parent company, GroupM.

My involvement with MEC is in its very early stage. Nonetheless, I've observed some core differences, especially in philosophy and vision, that relate to being different brands. But there's much that's familiar in financial rigour - processes, templates, etc. Strikingly similar is our approach to staff; their recruitment, training and development.

Would this move have been possible outside WPP? Most people I know in other marketing services groups hardly speak to each other. So I imagine this sort of move is uncommon in concept and even rarer in actual implementation.

Andre Nair is now CEO of GroupM South-East Asia and South Asia

Vivian Rowden - Millward Brown Australia & New ZealandVivian Rowden
From Ogilvy Chicago to Millward Brown Australia

As a native Australian, I began my advertising career with Ogilvy & Mather, Sydney. I remained with Ogilvy for 18 years across three continents: four years in Sydney, five years in South Africa and nine years in Chicago. In Chicago, I was running the Dove and Suave business for North America and ultimately operating as a managing partner of the office.

In 2003, family reasons were pulling me back to Australia but I very much wanted to remain working and to stay within the network. Ogilvy began to look within the Group but it was WPP's talent team who really helped open up the search.

They were instrumental in us looking more flexibly and sharing my experience within the Group. It was then a call from Bob Meyers (MB group CEO) that began the Millward Brown journey. Bob and I discussed before an opportunity in Australia and this led to an introduction to Andreas Sperling (CEO Asia Pacific). Both Bob and Andreas were terrific. We moved quickly to see if my experience would fit Millward Brown Australia.

It has been a wonderful experience, from the open-ness and supportiveness of Bob and Andreas to consider someone with a related but very different experience base, to the efficiency that we were able to pull the move off. The experience has been brilliant.

The ability to move across continents and being given the opportunity to expand your experience is something to be truly appreciated.

Vivian Rowden is managing director, Millward Brown, Australia and New Zealand

Keith Newton - Ogilvy New YorkKeith Newton
From Y&R New York to Ogilvy New York

Shortly after Y&R entered the WPP fold, Sir Martin Sorrell and Eric Salama spent an afternoon with us in New York listening to our vision and plans. "What can we do to help?" they'd ask. I've since seen that cultural attitude manifest in several ways.

Firstly, the invaluable ability to tap into WPP's expertise in the form of Jon Steel and Eric as we tried to change the planning culture in New York: critiquing work, offering guidance on specific projects and serving up contacts.

Then, after 21 years at Y&R, when a change of management and a 'difference of opinion' on the role of planning meant for me that a divorce looked inevitable, WPP provided support, with immediate meetings and a subsequent stream of contacts and conversations throughout the Group.

They opened my eyes to opportunities in places I would never have looked; they opened doors to working in countries I expressed an interest in, along with roles in research and consulting groups I never knew existed. Ultimately I found myself blessed with a richness of choice and, although I didn't make the biggest jump, I'll approach any future move with a broader perspective.

All this was delivered with openness to listen and respond, and sensitivity to my concerns, hopes and fears. There are many people to whom I've indebted. Rod Pullen, David Lamb and Tony Wright to name a few.

But I cannot offer praise enough to WPP's talent team. Beyond finding me a new and better home they offered guidance and counsel throughout the entire process. They brokered deals, provided reassurance and removed anxieties. It was done with such grace, often late at night, even during their weekends.

If you are willing to stick your head above the trench it is likely that at some point during your career you are going to get shot. When that happens, and you need some help, WPP seems like a great place to be.

Keith Newton is group planning director, Ogilvy New York

Neeja Wable - Millward Brown SingaporeNeerja Wable
From IMRB India to Millward Brown Singapore

I sure am a WPP-ite! I started my career in 1977 with JWT in Calcutta, India in account servicing followed by account planning. After a couple of years I moved to IMRB (the research division of JWT, now a Kantar company) in Mumbai to help set up their qualitative research unit.

I quit in 1981 for six years to raise my two sons, and worked with Unicef as a consultant during this period as well as freelanced with IMRB in Delhi. Got back to full-time work with IMRB Delhi in 1987, and became manager of the office in 1991.

During my 13 years as manager, I grew the business more than 26 times, and looked after two specialist business units: SRI (social and rural research) and Millward Brown, for which IMRB has a licence.

I moved to MB Singapore in 2004. I was approached for the role by Chris Robinson. I really appreciated that, since it demonstrates Kantar's involvement and commitment to career growth for its senior executives.

The move has been wonderful for me professionally. I am being challenged and am learning in a way that was not possible in my earlier role in India. I am glad that Kantar is looking at ways to give people more global exposure and an opportunity to work in different companies.

This cross-pollination will be really useful in developing a network of relationships that helps Kantar companies collaborate and compete more effectively.

Neerja Wable is chief client officer, Millward Brown Asia Pacific and Africa

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