Niel Bornman appointed CEO of Publicis Media UK and Chief Product & Solutions Officer EMEA

  • October 30, 2023

Appointment further establishes the UK as a platform for growth, connectivity and scalability of capabilities for clients across EMEA

Niel Bornman has been hired in the newly created combined role of CEO of Publicis Media UK and Chief Product & Solutions Officer for Publicis Groupe EMEA.

This major appointment reflects the continued investment in the UK market and its role as a platform across the broader EMEA region to drive cross-market collaboration, strengthen connectivity, and scale expertise and capabilities for clients as well as creating new opportunities for talent.

As CEO of Publicis Media UK, Bornman will be charged with growing the media arm of Publicis Groupe UK, including agencies Zenith, Starcom and Spark Foundry, working closely with the agency leaders and other members of the Publicis Media UK ExCo. As Chief Product & Solutions Officer for Publicis Groupe EMEA, Bornman will help scale the adoption of Publicis Groupe’s global media platforms for clients across EMEA, lead new product development and continue to augment the company’s data and product capabilities, jointly reporting to Loris Nold, CEO of Publicis Groupe EMEA and Demet Ikiler, COO of Publicis Groupe EMEA.

Sue Frogley, who has been CEO of Publicis Media UK since 2017, has decided to step down. She will remain with the company until the end of the year to ensure a smooth handover to Bornman.

Nold said: “Niel is a unique combination of a world class expert across multiple products and a proven leader in Europe. His experience in building products and solutions that drive transformative growth for clients through tech and data is truly exceptional. He has an incredible depth of knowledge and expertise, with more than two decades operating locally, regionally and globally. His entrepreneurial leadership style, coupled with his ambition to reshape industry standards through innovation, make him ideally suited to this new role. With the UK as our second largest market and as such an important international hub for many of our largest global clients, Niel is simply the best possible leader to take this responsibility on. Together with Demet, I look forward to welcoming him to Publicis Groupe as we continue to grow our EMEA and UK leadership teams.”

Nold continued: “I’m grateful to Sue for her strong leadership of Publicis Media UK over the past six years, growing the business, creating and leading a fantastic team and steering so many people-focused initiatives. She has overseen several consecutive years of double-digit growth.  I wish her all the very best in her next move.”

Frogley said: “After an incredible nine years at Publicis, with six years leading Publicis Media UK, I feel the time has come to take on a new challenge next year. It has been an honour and a privilege to lead this business through a period of growth and success. I’d like to thank my team and everyone at Publicis Groupe for all their support over the years and wish all the best to Publicis going forward.”

Bornman joins Publicis Groupe from WPP where he was most recently CEO of GroupM Nexus, EMEA, after serving as Chief Products & Services Officer for GroupM UK, and previously as Global Chief Technology Officer (Product & Data) for WPP where he developed the tech and data strategy for the holding company.  Bornman moved to WPP in 2019 from Dentsu Aegis where he was Global Chief Data Strategy Officer and Global Data Officer from 2017 to 2019 and Global Chief Product Officer of iProspect Global for the previous two years. This followed the sale of ClickThinking, the South African digital agency in which he was a major shareholder and COO, to Dentsu Aegis. Bornman joined ClickThinking in 2007 after starting his career in digital media in South Africa in 1998.

Bornman will take up his new role in the coming months and become a member of both the UK and EMEA ExCo.

Publicis Groupe UK had a strong Q3 with 10% organic growth, across Europe organic growth was +10.7% and across the Middle East and Africa, organic growth was +18.2%.

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