February 2023

M&C Saatchi UK appoints Jo Bacon to accelerate transformation of revamped agency

We're delighted to announce the appointment of Jo Bacon, one of the UK’s most experienced and successful marketeers, to lead our newly-formed UK agency.

The news follows the reorganisation of our UK operations into a single group, as well as the appointments of Zillah Byng-Thorne as Executive Chair and Marcus Peffers as UK Group CEO last year, in a series of moves designed to unlock greater value for our clients and enable more collaboration across disciplines.

With extensive leadership experience in both agency and client-side roles, Jo joins from Ogilvy, where she has spent nearly three-and-a-half years as Global Client Lead, Ogilvy, WPP, overseeing the company’s flagship Unilever beauty, wellness and food and nutrition business, including its biggest brands, Dove and Hellmann’s. She manages global multi-disciplinary teams across 80 markets, working with Unilever across every aspect of the marcomms and media mix. 

In her new role as CEO of M&C Saatchi UK, Jo will work alongside Marcus and Sophie Lewis, Chief Strategy Officer, to lead our new agency, which combines our previous London Advertising, Export, Global and Social issues businesses into a new full-service creative proposition. 

Jo will work to further accelerate our transformation, helping to reinforce our founding principle of Brutal Simplicity of Thought across every area of the business, from how we operate internally to the creative work we produce for clients.

Jo was instrumental in the recent haul of strategic and creative awards picked up by Ogilvy and WPP in 2023. Her team’s ground-breaking work on Unilever and Dove won 100+ strategic and creative accolades in 2023, including an Emmy Award, three Cannes Grand Prix, multiple Cannes Lions, US Gold Effies and D&AD Black Pencils - making her one of the most awarded ad agency leaders in the world last year. 

She will join M&C Saatchi UK in May this year.

The appointment follows a year of transformation and growth for M&C Saatchi UK, with recent client wins including Dreams, Diageo and the Financial Conduct Authority.

Our search for a new Global Chief Creative Officer is still ongoing. We are currently narrowing down candidates with a view to making an appointment in the first half of this year.


Marcus Peffers, UK Group CEO, M&C Saatchi, said: 

“Hiring Jo to lead our newly formed UK Agency is a tremendous coup. 

“She’s a rare talent. As well as being 2023’s most awarded ad agency leader, she’s a brilliant, highly experienced CMO, leading some of Britain’s biggest media brands, across the total marcomms mix.

“To accelerate the transformation of our UK Agency, we need a CEO with exceptional creative leadership and entrepreneurial flair, combined with deep brand expertise and commercial know-how.

“Jo has these in abundance - we’re thrilled she’s joining us.”

Jo Bacon, incoming CEO, M&C Saatchi, said: 

“It’s incredibly exciting time to be joining M&C Saatchi at such a pivotal stage in its transformation journey. 

“I started my career at Saatchi’s, so becoming CEO of M&C Saatchi feels like a natural next step for me. I understand the power of the Saatchi brand – it’s one of the most iconic and influential names in communications.

“I’ve seen what incredible potential M&C Saatchi has, using Brutal Simplicity of Thought to build famous commercial brands, tackle the most complex societal issues and be central to moments of national and global importance. At the top of its game, there really is no better agency.

“I share Marcus and Zillah’s ambition to make M&C Saatchi an extraordinary force in marketing, communications and creativity, and the leading company of its kind, here in the UK and globally. I know my experience and ambition can help make that happen, and I can’t wait to get started.”


Read more news from M&C Saatchi Group here.