Former Dentsu Creative CEO James Morris heads for Publicis Groupe

Newly created role at Publicis plays to Morris’s production leadership experience, and reinforces London as base for EMEA operations

James Morris, former EMEA chief executive of Dentsu Creative, has been appointed to the new role of CEO of creative transformation for Publicis Groupe EMEA.

Based in London and reporting to Loris Nold, CEO of Publicis Groupe EMEA, Morris will oversee production and its “connected capabilities across media, data and creative”.

Accordingly, the production operations across the group in Europe will report to Morris, and he will work closely alongside Sergio Lopez-Ferrero, global CEO of Publicis Production.

Publicis Groupe said his appointment signified a “continued investment into Publicis Groupe UK and its role as a platform for Europe to drive growth, strengthen collaboration and scale expertise and capabilities for clients”.

Publicis Groupe has been strengthening its EMEA operations, which generate around 25 per cent of global revenue, including recruiting WPP’s Demet Ikiler as chief operating officer for EMEA, who also reports to Nold.

Morris, who will start his new job in January, is charged with further integrating production across the group, “using tech to reinvent the ways in which work is delivered for clients”.

His departure from Dentsu Creative EMEA was reported at the end of August, with Ete Davies, EMEA chief operating officer at Dentsu Creative, taking on his responsibilities in the interim.

Nold described Morris as a true “hybrid leader with a proven track record in delivering connected and innovative solutions for clients”.

“Production is a massive priority for us and we’ve been accelerating on both delivery capabilities and tech solutions for our clients across the region. His unique and multi-disciplinary skillset, spanning media, creative, production and strategic leadership, positions him perfectly to help deliver transformative models to our clients.” adds Nold.

Morris said: “I am over the moon to be joining Publicis at a time of such momentum and growth. Publicis Groupe’s world-leading agency brands, clients, diverse capabilities, craft and integrity, is second to none. I cannot wait to join this incredibly talented team to deliver groundbreaking solutions for clients across the EMEA region.”

Morris joined Dentsu in 2019 as CEO for creative, entertainment and sport UK, adding EMEA responsibilities to his role in 2021. He oversaw creative, and was responsible for heading up production, including fronting media and acquisition strategy in this area.

He arrived at Dentsu after three years as global CEO of production company Stink, before which he worked at Mediacom for five years. At Stink, Morris helped develop TV shows, music videos, branded content and digital experiences for media owners and brands including Channel 4, Google and Nike.

Publicis Groupe has recently been shaking up its global leadership structure. In September last year, it appointed three regional leaders, including moving Nold from his role as CEO of APAC/MEA into his current position.

Then, in April this year, it was announced that UK CEO Annette King was departing for Accenture Song. The group said she would not be replaced in the UK.