GroupM, WPP’s media investment group, has announced award-winning people and culture specialist Scott Laird has been named as Chief People Officer to lead Training & Development, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Culture across the network.
Laird will lead the people and culture practice working closely with the HR leads in Mindshare, MediaCom, Wavemaker and Essence, to support our people and ensure everyone can forge a fulfilling career in GroupM as we shape the next era of media. He has a wealth of experience in dynamic agency environments and is currently Chief People Officer for IPG Mediabrands agency Initiative. He has also held senior People & Culture roles at Publicis Groupe.
Laird is an award-winning HR leader, who has a proven track record of leading innovative, thoughtful and effective initiatives around wellbeing, culture, learning & development, CSR, recruitment, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, and beyond. He was named an AdNews Emerging Leader in 2020, shortlisted as a B&T Champion of Change and Campaign Asia Champion of Change in 2019, and recognized in the Mumbrella NeXt awards in 2019. During his four years there, Laird helped Initiative win a number of People & Culture accolades, led the agency’s Pride in Diversity relationship and oversaw achieving Mental Health Skilled Workplace Gold in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Aimee Buchanan, GroupM Australia & New Zealand CEO, says: “Our people are the most important asset of GroupM, and are what helps us innovate, differentiate, and generate value for our clients. We are thrilled to have someone with Scott’s talent, energy and passion joining our leadership team. Scott has always impressed me with his innovative and empathic approach to people & culture. I look forward to working with him to ensure that our people are nurtured, developed and supported in every way possible.
Laird says: “I was immediately drawn to GroupM’s mission of making advertising work better for people. An exciting and bold mission that simplifies the connection between the people strategy and the businesses ambition to help shape the next era of media. I’m thrilled to join Aimee and the GroupM team at what is an exciting time for the network, its agencies and people.”
He replaces Cindy Grass, who is stepping down in November to pursue new opportunities. Grass has spent 14 years within WPP and has been GroupM’s Chief HR & Talent Officer since 2017.
Buchanan adds: “Cindy has had a tremendous impact on our business, and more importantly our people, in Australia over the years and she leaves with our full appreciation for everything she has done and our best wishes for the future.”
GroupM has also expanded its People & Talent team in recent months welcoming Jane Kezerle as Senior People Services Manager and adding two new talent recruitment experts and two new HR Advisors.