Rachel Forde takes up appointment as new UK chief executive of UM

UM has appointed Rachel Forde as UK chief executive as parent company Interpublic seeks to make its British media operation “far stronger”.

Rachel’s appointment comes weeks after she left rival Publicis Groupe, where she spent 20 years and rose to be chief executive of Spark Foundry. She said UM felt “like a natural fit for me”, adding: “I’ve always enjoyed working with disruptive businesses and UM certainly promises to play to this agenda.” She is Interpublic’s third, significant external hire in London in the last 18 months after Caroline Foster Kenny joined as EMEA chief executive of IPG Mediabrands, Interpublic’s media division, and Richard Morris became UK chief executive of Initiative.

Caroline Foster Kenny said “We’re making investments right across IPG Mediabrands and a big part of that is talent and people. We are upweighting not just with tools, capabilities and products but also leadership. The UK needs to become much stronger.”

Rachel, who has also worked at Zenith and was managing director of P&G United, Publicis Groupe’s agency for Procter & Gamble, joins in July.

Caroline Foster Kenny said she is “so intuitive with clients”, has “an entrepreneurial spirit” and “brings a special energy that aligns with UM’s business ethos”.  Although she wants IPG Mediabrands to grow in the UK, she said the ambition was “to be the best” – “not the biggest”.

UM has 197 staff, up 16% on a year earlier, and estimated billings of £191m, according to its Campaign School Report, which was published this week. Their clients include Spotify and Accenture. It is the 13th largest media agency in the UK.

We wish Rachel, Caroline and the entire team at UM and their parent company Interpublic all the very best in this latest Victorious Partnership.