Sandy Thompson to Take on Global Planning Role at Y&R

15-Year Saatchi Vet Will Assume Responsibilities Previously Held by John Gerzema

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NEW YORK ( -- Top planning executive Sandy Thompson is leaving Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi after a 15-year run to become global planning director at WPP's Y&R. The move will reunite her with Y&R's global creative chief, Tony Granger, whom Ms. Thompson got to know during his stint leading creative at Saatchi's New York office.

Sandy Thompson
Sandy Thompson
In the new post, Ms. Thompson will take over responsibilities previously held by John Gerzema, who has led the network's Insights practice since 2004. Mr. Gerzema will become president of BrandAsset Consulting, Y&R's global brand strategy arm, and will become more involved with the unit's proprietary research, something he's heavily drawn on in books such as "The Brand Bubble" and "Spend Shift."

Ms. Thompson began her planning career at Saatchi in Toronto, and went on to become a regional planning director in Asia. In 2007, she was named the network's global planning director and was based in New York, working on accounts including Toyota, JCPenney and Guinness. In a statement, Ms. Thompson said she's excited about the opportunity to "bring some intuition, some clarity and some real-life customer experience to the table."

It's not the first time Mr. Granger has recruited Saatchi executives over to Y&R. Among the others are creative department execs Paul Schulman and Kerry Keenan.

Y&R has had a number of changes in top talent this year, particularly in the U.S., with the arrival of former SapientNitro top exec Jane Barratt as New York managing director and the departure of Mitch Caplan, who went to McCann to serve as chief marketing officer.

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