Wunderman Thompson hires ex-R/GA exec Preston to be EMEA client chief

He will reunite with former DigitasLBi colleague Ewen Sturgeon.

Preston: worked at DigitasLBi for number of years over two stints
Preston: worked at DigitasLBi for number of years over two stints

Wunderman Thompson has hired Iain Preston, R/GA’s former EMEA executive director, client services, for a newly created role to win and develop international business.

Preston has been named chief client success officer for the WPP network’s EMEA region and will report to his former colleague at DigitasLBi (now Digitas), Ewen Sturgeon, who was appointed Wunderman Thompson EMEA chief executive last year. 

Based in London, Preston will be tasked with overseeing Wunderman Thompson’s client engagement in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and will be responsible for identifying opportunities for business development.

The agency said its EMEA operation comprises more than 7,000 people across nearly two dozen markets, having been created through the merger of Wunderman and J Walter Thompson in 2018.

Wunderman Thompson praised Preston as an "agency veteran" who is known for his creative leadership, with an ability to merge strong, high-performing teams and help them collaborate. 

At R/GA was responsible for helping the Interpublic shop's client services team drive organic growth, as well as leading strategic partnerships to help brands navigate industry disruption.

Preston has considerable experience at Publicis Groupe’s DigitasLBi, having worked at the agency for two stints over nearly 10 years in client service roles. During that time, he oversaw accounts including BT, Deutsche Telekom, the Financial TimesFoot Locker, Microsoft, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

In between his two stints at DigitasLBi, from 2007 to 2014 and from 2015 to 2017, Preston had a short-lived spell at Accenture as senior manager – digital. 

Sturgeon, who worked at DigitasLBi and then Publicis.Sapient between 2013 and 2018, said: "I was sold on Iain’s novel approach to creating client success when we first met. He has combined traditional functions of growth and client leadership into one organisational entity. It’s a powerful way of thinking and we are thrilled to have him on our team." 

Editor's note: this story initially repored that Preston had left R/GA to join Wunderman Thompson, when in fact he left R/GA last September. Sorry for the error.