Dynamic, people-first leader joins as Grey celebrates its 105th anniversary
Grey today announces the appointment of Laura Maness as global chief executive officer, joining the agency on September 1st. Laura will build on Grey’s international capabilities and AKQA Group expertise while bringing people together from across the network to prioritise employee experience and breakthrough, high-performance work for clients. Laura will shape Grey’s global strategy, playing a pivotal role in talent attraction and retention through a values-led culture, emphasising diversity, equity and inclusion while driving sustainable, responsible growth and impact worldwide.
Laura Maness comments, “As only the sixth CEO in 105 years, the opportunity to renew, galvanise and grow a legendary and celebrated agency like Grey — combined with the unmatched calibre of talent from across the globe — is incredibly meaningful. I look forward to building on the strong foundation of Grey’s storytelling prowess and famously effective work by fuelling a culture of creativity, innovation, and continuous impact.”
Ajaz Ahmed, AKQA Group CEO comments, “Laura is entrepreneurial, dynamic and energetic. She unites by building community — not hierarchy — inspiring with an enlightened leadership approach and a proven track record. With a focus on innovation and as a champion of multidisciplinary solutions for clients, Laura is the ideal CEO to help shape Grey’s strategic vision and path ahead. I am looking forward to working in partnership with Laura and the team at Grey.”
He added, “Grey has an unrivalled global client list and a precious wealth of exceptional talent. The agency is open to reimagining the possibilities. Our goal must be to celebrate Grey’s inventive vigour with pioneering work that sets it apart. We must forge strong bonds with our clients where we can make the strongest contribution by embracing the new drivers of economic growth.”
Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said, “Laura believes in the power of what we do to make a difference in the world, and has an impressive track record of delivering growth for agencies, their people and their clients. I’m delighted she’s joining AKQA Group as global CEO of Grey. Grey is known for outstanding creativity that produces outstanding results, and I’m sure that reputation will only grow under Laura’s leadership.”
With a powerhouse career in advertising, integrated communications and digital, spanning over 25 years, Laura is recognised as one of the industry’s most accomplished executives. Before being appointed global CEO of Grey, Laura served as CEO of Havas Group’s North American flagship agency, Havas New York, driving a culture of purposeful growth for some of the world’s most recognised companies. Laura also oversaw several specialist practices, including a culture-first creator studio (Annex88) and a data-driven customer engagement agency (Havas CX) in the US. Before these responsibilities, Laura served as US chief growth officer for Havas Worldwide North America and managing director of Havas Chicago. Before joining Havas, Laura was head of growth for FCB in San Francisco.
Laura’s numerous accolades include: named a Working Mother of the Year and Changing the Game Quantum Leap winner by She Runs It; Campaign magazine Female Frontier honouree for Championing Change; Creativepool’s Top Influencer of the Year, Top 25 CEO, Top 100 Creative Leader; Digiday’s Top Boss for Worklife; a finalist for The Drum magazine’s CEO of the Year; and, most recently, was celebrated as Act Responsible’s Ad Industry Champion of Good at the 2022 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
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