NEWS5 February 2020

Colmar Brunton to be merged into Kantar Australia

Asia Pacific M&A News

AUSTRALIA – Following WPP AUNZ’s sale of its data investment businesses as part of WPP’s global sale of Kantar, market research agency Colmar Brunton will become part of Kantar.

Eric Salama_crop

WPP AUNZ spun off its Kantar agencies in Australia and New Zealand – Kantar Insights, Kantar Consulting, WPP AUNZ Consulting, Colmar Brunton, Lightspeed and The Online Research Unit – as part of the wider sale of 60% of Kantar to Bain Capital, which completed in December 2019.

In Australia, Colmar Brunton will be fully integrated into Kantar and the brand name will be dropped during 2020.

The transition will be led by a team consisting of: Kantar Australia chief executive Jon Foged, Kantar Public Australia co-CEOs Kathy O’Donoghue and Ash Moore, Colmar Brunton chief operating officer Maree Taylor and chief client officer Jenny Witham.

Joan Young will step down as chief executive of Colmar Brunton and take on a new role as global head of syndicated products for Kantar’s Public division, reporting to its global chief executive Michelle Harrison.

Once the agency has been merged into Kantar, Taylor and Witham will be appointed to senior roles within Kantar’s Insights division.

In New Zealand, Colmar Brunton is a separate legal entity and will not be affected by these changes.

The Online Research Unit (The Oru), Lightspeed, Kantar Consulting and WPP AUNZ Consulting will also be merged into Kantar.

Additionally, Rob McLachlan, previously chief executive of WPP AUNZ’s data investment group of companies, has been appointed as chairman of Kantar in Australia and New Zealand for a 12-month assignment to support the changes.

There will be no other changes to management teams in Australia/New Zealand. Reporting lines will change from WPP AUNZ to global divisional and functional leads at Kantar.

Eric Salama, chief executive of Kantar (pictured), said: “The integration of Colmar Brunton and the addition of The Oru and Consulting expertise and teams and that of other teams into Kantar will make us a much stronger partner for our Australian clients. 2019 was a fabulous year in the region, and today’s announcement ensures a lot more of that to come.”

Salama is due to step down as Kantar’s chief executive this year, but a successor has not yet been appointed.