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HERoes and Yahoo Finance name 12 WPP leaders as role models for women in business and champions of gender diversity


Twelve leaders across WPP have been recognised in the 2019 HERoes Women Role Model Lists, supported by Yahoo Finance.

The three lists celebrate the achievements of women in business and the male champions who support them, showcasing individuals who are leading by example and driving change to increase gender diversity in the workplace.

UK Country Manager for WPP Karen Blackett OBE, Taiwan Chairwoman for WPP and Vice Chairman for Ogilvy Greater China Shenan Chuang, Turkey Country Manager for WPP and CEO for GroupM Turkey Demet Ikiler, and Managing Partner for WPP’s Corporate Practice Aisling Ryan were all named as role models and champions in the 100 Female Executives category.

WPP CEO Mark Read was also recognised as one of 40 Advocate Executives who continue to support female talent in their companies. Since becoming CEO in September 2018, Mark has made culture a cornerstone of WPP’s new strategy. His commitment to creating a more inclusive WPP has led to an increase in the proportion of women at the most senior levels: the proportion of women on WPP’s board has increased to 42%, and the number of women leading WPP’s 20 biggest global brands has doubled under his leadership.

In addition, seven female leaders in WPP agencies were recognised as inspirational role models making a significant contribution to gender diversity in their organisations: Mel Edwards, Global CEO at Wunderman Thompson, Sue Unerman, Chief Transformation Officer at MediaCom, Caroline Frankum, Global CEO of Profiles Division at Kantar, Nicole Lonsdale, Chief Planning Officer at Kinetic, Shelina Janmohamed, Vice President for Islamic Marketing at Ogilvy Consulting, Emily Kucharski, Associate Business Director at Wunderman Thompson, and Jo Wallace, Creative Director for UK & EMENA at Wunderman Thompson.

Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said: “The acknowledgement of so many of our female leaders in this year’s women in business HERoes and Yahoo Finance lists is a reflection primarily of their own achievements, but also of the ongoing work to improve gender balance across WPP. We are encouraged by this recognition and will continue our efforts to improve diversity of all kinds in our teams.”

HERoes 100 Women Executives category:
Karen Blackett OBE, UK Country Manager, WPP (3)
Sue Unerman, Chief Transformation Officer, MediaCom (12)
Caroline Frankum, Global CEO, Profiles Division, Kantar (31)
Shenan Chuang, Taiwan Chairwoman, WPP and Vice Chairman, Ogilvy Greater China (40)
Jo Wallace, Creative Director for UK & EMENA, Wunderman Thompson (44)
Mel Edwards, Global CEO, Wunderman Thompson (63)
Demet Ikiler, Turkey Country Manager, WPP and CEO, GroupM Turkey (75)
Aisling Ryan, Managing Partner, The Corporate Practice, WPP (84)
Nicole Lonsdale, Chief Planning Officer, Kinetic (85)

HERoes 50 Women Future Leaders category:
Shelina Janmohamed, Vice President, Islamic Marketing, Ogilvy Consulting (9)
Emily Kucharski, Associate Business Director, Wunderman Thompson (28)

HERoes 40 Advocate Executives category:
Mark Read, CEO, WPP (12)

Notes to editors
Karen Blackett OBE is an advocate of all types of diversity across WPP, developing its UK Inclusion Board, introducing Inclusion@MediaCom, a role model scheme inviting external speakers to share experiences, championing a Women Returners programme with the organisation Successful Mums, and launching Project Blend, which focuses on helping people blend work with life to reach their true potential. She was also appointed UK Government’s Race at Work Champion and helped launch the Mayor of London’s Our Time initiative, a sponsorship programme to help women progress into senior leadership positions. 

As part of her focus on diversity in Taiwan, Shenan Chuang established the country’s WPP Stella women’s network in 2018, comprising 40 female senior leaders. Her support of female talent has led to a 70% female workforce and women making up 60% of the leadership team. She is also Supervising Director of the Executive Board for the Taiwan Women on Boards Association (WOB), an organisation that aims to raise the awareness of the contribution of female leaders, increase the percentage of women on boards and influence government policy on a range of issues.

Demet Ikiler is committed to diversity in recruitment policies, workplace culture and office facilities. She was instrumental in implementing WPP’s Walk the Talk initiative in Turkey, helping to support the next generation of female leaders. Demet has ensured that WPP offers one of the most comprehensive parental packages in Turkey and launched the GroupM Mother Support Programme, providing returning new mothers with a one-to-one mentor for the first three months back at work. She is also an ambassador to Unilever and the Advertising Association, working on their gender equality and female stereotype initiatives.

The Corporate Practice that Aisling Ryan leads at WPP is a committed agitator for positive impact. As the WPP lead for the United Nations, she is an advisor to UN Women and helped to create the People’s Seat campaign, giving millions of people the opportunity to be heard by world leaders at crucial climate change talks. Aisling is involved in a wide range of mentoring and training for women of all levels and roles at WPP, such as the X Factor programme which prepares women for the next level of executive leadership.

About WPP
WPP is a creative transformation company. We build better futures for our clients through an integrated offer of communications, experience, commerce and technology. For more information, visit

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