VML Announces Global Creative Leadership Team

The VML creative team is led by former VMLY&R Chief Creative Officer Debbi Vandeven.

Following the merger of WPP’s VMLY&R and Wunderman Thompson, the recently launched VML has announced its global creative leadership team – assembling some of the most awarded creative leaders in the industry, the agency announced.

Led by former VMLY&R chief creative officer Debbi Vandeven, the team comprises industry veterans tasked with driving creative across the agency’s brand portfolio.

“I’m thrilled to unite the wonderful creative talent from our two agencies. I have no doubt that we will work as a team to deliver brave, smart work that emotionally connects with people to deliver outstanding results for our clients. Anything we can dream up, we can create — we have the talent to do it. And that’s incredibly exciting,” saidVandeven.


 

Jon Cook, global CEO of VML, added: “Our belief is that creative must and will span three critical areas: brand experience, customer experience, and commerce.”

“Creativity runs through all of them and unites them. This outstanding team of global creatives led by Debbi Vandeven is our industry’s best, bar none, and represent the importance of creativity at the core of our business.”

As global chief creative officer of VML, Vandeven, who joined the agency in 2000, will drive the strategic vision and evolution of the agency’s creative product.

Rafa Pitanguy, continuing as deputy global chief creative officer and global CCO for The Coca-Cola Company, has played a pivotal role since joining VML (then Y&R) in Brazil in 2016. He helped transform the agency into a top creative force across LATAM and worldwide. Pitanguy led the agency to consecutive Cannes Lions Agency of the Year awards in 2021 (for Good track) and 2022 (Entertainment).


 

Kaleeta McDade has been named global chief experience design officer (CXDO) and global CXDO, The Coca-Cola Company. McDade will continue to lead the agency’s growing experience design team, bridging creative storytelling, technology, design and user experience for clients across VML’s client portfolio. McDade is renowned for her demonstrated prowess in driving impactful results for brands. She excels in crafting strategic visions that not only strengthen customer relationships but also resonate across every phase of the engagement life cycle.

Manuel Bordé will serve as global chief creative officer, commerce. His remit covers global creative responsibilities for the agency’s leading end-to-end creative commerce capability. Bordé previously served as CCO lead for VMLY&R Commerce, leading brands into the next great era and accelerating the delivery of creative commerce at the intersection of physical, digital, and social.

Mel Routhier has been promoted to global chief creative officer, health. Routhier joined VMLY&R in 2020 to serve as chief creative officer in Chicago. In 2023, she served as jury president at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity for the Health & Wellness Lions.

Bas Korsten has been named global chief creative officer, innovation, and co-chief creative officer, EMEA.

Korsten has served as global chief creative officer of Wunderman Thompson since 2019. Under his leadership, Wunderman Thompson was named Most Innovative Network by the Cannes Lions for 2020/2021 and received the Innovation Grand Prix for Unilever’s Degree Inclusive, the world’s first inclusive deodorant for people with visual and upper extremity impairment.


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