Karen Blackett OBE

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Senior Executive, WPP

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Synopsis

The UK country manager for the global advertising giant WPP, Karen also serves as CEO of Group M, WPP's media investment arm. With over 20 years at the forefront of the media and advertising industry she is one of the most influential figures in the sector. She considers how to realise creative, vibrant cultures within organisations, combining growth with motivative, engaged and diverse teams. Karen is also a non-executive board member of the Cabinet Office and a non-exec director of Creative England.

Biography

Karen Blackett is the UK country manager for the giant global advertising company WPP. She also serves as CEO of Group M, WPP's media investment arm, and was previously chairwoman of MediaCom UK, which is now a part of Group M. She is a non-executive board member of the Cabinet Office, and has been named by Debrett’s, the Telegraph and Ad Age as one of the leading and most influential women in business and the media.

With over 20 years’ experience at the forefront of the media industry, Karen rose to her current position after an enormously successful period as CEO of MediaCom UK, which saw her in charge of over £1.2 billion of media billings and 1,100 employees. As CEO she also oversaw £790 million of new business and the successful capture of the coveted Tesco account, after 23 years with their incumbent agency. This period of growth and success was recognised by industry magazine Campaign, as MediaCom UK was voted Agency of the Year for an unprecedented two years running.

Karen is known as a business leader with a track record in creating vibrant cultures, motivating teams and consistently delivering growth and success. Forthright and engaging, she considers the nature of leadership in the modern business world. She also examines the importance of women’s rights and diversity to create a strong company that reflects wider society.

Karen is President of NABS, the advertising industry charity which focuses on health and wellbeing in the workplace and presenting the business case for diversity. She was also asked to help diversify the Civil Service and she was one of David Cameron’s UKTI Business Ambassadors. She serves as an Advisory Board member of Shine Media and a Non Exec of Creative England.

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