Dentsu Group Discontinues the International CEO Role

Dentsu Group Discontinues the International CEO Role

Published: October 01, 2022

In an effort to bring complete operations of the largest Japanese advertising and public relations company under one roof, Dentsu Group decided to discontinue Dentsu International, one of the two entities that comprise the Group. With it, the International CEO role will cease to exist, giving way to a global “One Management Team” that is to merge two existing Dentsu Group subdomains into one uniform entity.

Currently, the CEO of Dentsu International is Wendy Clark, who’s been in the position since 2020, after she left DDB where she was a global CEO and president. The other side of the Dentsu coin is Dentsu Japan, headed by Norihiro Kuretani. Overseeing both entities and leading Dentsu Group as a whole is Hiroshi Igarashi, who is likely to helm the “One Management Team.”

Dentsu Group management team
[Source: Marketing Interactive]

Igarashi, the current president and CEO of Dentsu Group, will take control of global Dentsu operations, which span four regions — Japan, EMEA, Americas, and APAC. The latest change in company hierarchy will see the departure of Clark and a likely move to a non-executive function for Kuretani.

At first, a spokesperson at Dentsu redirected all questions regarding corporation restructuring to a previous statement, released after initial rumors of Clark’s departure:

“A cross-functional global team of our executive leaders has been working on our long-term roadmap for Dentsu,” the statement read. “We have strong confidence that this will continue our progress in driving growth and making client impact. We expect to communicate more fully as we finalize this planning process.”

However, Igarashi and Clark have recently come out with more definitive statements surrounding the discontinuation of the International CEO role.

"We are deeply grateful to Clark for the significant contribution she has made in helping Dentsu Group and Dentsu International recover their performance and build a strong foundation for the future," Igarashi said.

Clark added:

“It's hard to be prouder of our 46,000+ Dentsu International team members and leadership. It's their brilliant thinking, hard work and commitment that has accelerated the opportunity for Dentsu International to now become fully integrated into Dentsu Group and led by One Management Team. While I will miss this team greatly, my confidence in them could not be higher and I will be cheering for their many successes to come.”

It appears that “One Dentsu” was the company's ultimate goal for a long time, and everyone involved in making it happen was aware of the implications. In fact, Clark played a pivotal role in bringing 160 agencies down to only six agency brands, one of which is Dentsu Creative. She has also overseen efforts to generate 50% of revenue from customer transformation and technology services. Now that the work is done, Clark is set to leave Dentsu on December 31, 2022.

Igarashi joined Dentsu in 1984 and was mostly in charge of business development and problem-solving. In 2017, he became an executive officer, then took control of Dentsu the following year.

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