After 11 years with Y&R Group, chief executive officer Phil McDonald resigns from his role

Phil McDonald Headshot 2016 (1)-thumb-300x419-208706.jpgWPP AUNZ  has confirmed that Phil McDonald has resigned from his role as CEO Y&R Group effective immediately. McDonald has led the business for the last two years.
Says Mike Connaghan, CEO, WPP AUNZ: "Phil leaves the agency in good shape, and we thank him for his commitment and hard work since taking on the CEO role two years ago.  He took the reins at a tough time for the business, but has played an important part in growing both its capabilities and solid client offering.  We wish him well in his future endeavors."

Says McDonald: "I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the wonderful people and clients of Y&R ANZ. In my time as regional CEO, we have reinvented our business across five cities, won awards all over the world, attracted some great new clients and some of the best talent in the industry. The agency is well set up and after 11 years at Y&R, it is the right time for me to move on to a completely new opportunity, which I will announce in the coming weeks."

An announcement about a new CEO will be made soon.

During this transition period Y&R offices in will continue to be led by their respective state managing directors reporting directly to WPP AUNZ.


Yep.... said:

This is just the start....

Phillip you’re a legend who is destined for better things!

14 said:

Hepburn CEO then?

@14 said:

Nope - Pete from Leos

Sorry said:

It’s a tough industry. I’m sure Nagy is licking his lips as he now has a free run at WPP.

Creative said:

It can't be Pete Bos you fools. It's a CEO role not an ECD one! :-)

Hey Aden said:


Good luck on the CEO/MD/ECD gig there mate. Looks like you’ve called it!

@14 said:

God fucking help us all if that happens

THE KING said:

Good stuff Phil.
You're a top bloke and a great operator - onwards and upwards.

Behind the spin said:

He dumped 20m in revenue and went from 27 lions to 0 in 18 months, so I can see why he’s moving on.

@Behind the spin said:

Haha do you really think CEOs are solely responsible for lions?

@behind the spin said:

To be fair, revenue was exactly as per previous year, margin massively improved. Only 1 x Lion. Incorrect slander doesn't really help. Evaluate on the facts instead perhaps.

Steve Dodds said:

@spin, you are probably young. Which is nice. Naive and optimistic too.

Also sweet.

But clients don't care about Lions.

Agency networks also don't care about Lions except when they think clients do.

Now that every multi-national network can win Lions what is the point? When hundreds are given out each year they don't separate you from your competition any more. They are just a very expensive leveller.

A ponzi scheme.

Nice for lynchy to write about. Nice to justify a trip to the ATO.

But no more a signifier of good work than me reading the entrails of my pet goat.

behindthe8ball said:

Isn't as simple as Connaghan is royalty, Phil's a general, therefore Phil goes under the bus, whatevs. Phil will move on and the next general will get shit loads of doe and suffer the same demise eventually.Same shit same location. There is no great suffering.

Mono said:

@behindthespin... your comment says more about you. You don't even have the courage to identify yourself.

You wouldn't know about this mans achievements because he doesn't need to base every success upon an irrelevant benchmark.

Phil McDonald is easily one of the smartest contributors to the business, growth and success of an international communications network in this region.

A man who's foresight is directly responsible for multiple successful, altruistic and community based campaigns that have made a real difference in our community and you mention awards?

These agencies are so much more than billings and awards. They have staff, families, an ethos, a vision, direction, a personality and a legacy.

Cannes? 1200km down one road is Calais. With all the problem solvers in our industry, have you ever considered that nobody ever cleaned up at Calais?

What will your legacy be?

ScenesByDean said:

Phil, a personal note of thanks for your encouragement, trust, good humour, and support through the group when I went out on my own after 13 years there at Patts Y&R - (close to 7 working with you I think). All the very best in whatever you're about to do and I'm sure our paths will cross again.

Dan said:

@Steve Dodds, I've seen you comments over the years and it seems to me that you are the naive one. You see, lions, and awards aren't just about clients. Agencies around the world, and the entire industry use the lions as a benchmark and as a way to attract talent. After all, the work is some of the best.. we can all agree. An agency that wins, attracts good talent which then benefits everyone. Finding good talent is very hard these days, there's so many agencies and they can't find people that suit their needs. But if you think everyone should just do average mediocre work, then go ahead and run the entire the industry.

I don't think lions is everything but if you make it about the work and nothing but the work, you can't argue that lions or any other awards (even Kinsale Sharks) are a good celebration of the work and a way people and agencies can identify themselves. Through the work. Look at most agency website.. everyone celebrates the work.. and the awards they've won with it.

@Dan said:

Maybe that's why the big agencies aren't growing with ad spend anymore. Just a thought.

Groucho said:

@Steve Dodds perhaps you should stop letting your pet goat write your posts.

Michael Corran said:

Awards? The only people that care about awards are those creatives who seek industry recognition. Whatever happened to the challenge of turning around a business, a product or a service that requires nothing more than the talent and courage of an agency?

The fact that you even work where you do should be enough to let you know that you are good or great at what you do. Smart business is about more than advertising campaigns and creativity. Fuck the awards.

Even those people tasked with finding a suitable replacement will need to have ambition, capabilities and a talent that are unrivalled.

Whomever replaces this man will need to be the very best.

Roar said:

"Fuck the awards."
- everyone who doesn't win any

@Roar said:

"We've got to win some Lions this year"

Every high revenue but unprofitable agency ever.

Horrid, toxic culture said:

Well Phil, at least you don’t have to put up with the rampant political bitch-moan that seems to pervade every aspect of WPP culture anymore.


Connect the dots said:

WPP announces a profit downgrade, Whitegrey, JWT and Y&R shed staff. Anyone who thinks the advertising industry is a stable career is misguided. The problem is the industry no longer pays incomes that reflect the instability.

Colsey said:

Phil was one of the key reasons Y&R stayed afloat the last 11 years, managing the business through a number of periods of instability due to a new CEO every 2 years. He is one of the good ones - a geniunely nice bloke and great leader. A big loss to the business - will be interesting to see if they can rebuild and recover...again.

The Canadian said:

Phil was a sharp yet disarmingly casual operator. He led the Brisbane agency well, held it a the top for a decade while others faltered. Good luck with the next move.

Merger on the cards said:

Does anyone else feel there might just be a JWT Y&R merger? It's been done before within WPP

@mergeronthecards said:

Calling it: WhiteGREY&R

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