BRAND BUZZ

JWT: A company as good as its people

BY ALI NAQVI –

A company with around 200 offices around the globe, and belonging to one of the biggest advertising and public relations groups in the world, can be ruthless, callous and extremely unprofessional. The Company is JWT and the group referred to is the mighty WPP.

The tug of war between Sara Fatima Koraishy and Mr Omer Yousuf Murad messed things up for JWT Pakistan in general and JWT-Lahore in Particular. The appointment of Omer Murad as acting CEO was a bad move and later the appointment of Sara Koraishy as CEO was even worse. It shows how favoritism and nepotism is not just a norm in corrupt organizations of the third world countries but also a prevalent practice in multinational companies like JWT/Wunderman and WPP of the developed world.

A few months back the group closed one of its offices in Pakistan. Lahore office was shut down without prior notice to the employees. No official email announcing the closure of the office was ever routed.

WPP closes JWT lahore office without any notice.

The CFO Omer Murad (Acting CEO) along with HR Manager visited Lahore with the phrase “Resign or face termination” that shocked everyone in Lahore office. All the employees refused to resign and asked for a reasonable time to find new jobs. Instead of considering such an option, the management sent termination letters to all employees to their home addresses. 

JWT-Lahore has been working with minimum resources for the last decade or so. It is the only office in Pakistan which has been giving around 30% profit. When GM JWT Lahore Office resigned, the clients were not taken into confidence. The new appointee GM also resigned within a couple of weeks. After his resignation, nobody was given charge of Lahore office. No GM was hired. Nobody was promoted within the office to be the GM. The office was running like a headless chicken but the higher management in the Karachi office did not act. A few more people also resigned from account management and design department, but nobody was hired or assigned to take up the responsibilities. 

The senior staff on behalf of all else wrote to WPP and JWT top management asking them to take notice of the situation but nothing happened. Such a behavior can be expected from a small local company but not from WPP. WPP is a British multinational group with its main office in London, England. WPP portfolio includes renowned media, public relations, market research and advertising networks like J. Walter Thompson (JWT), Ogilvy, Grey, Young & Rubicam, Millward Brown, IMRB, Hill & Knowlton, Burson-Marsteller, GroupM, Cohn & Wolfe and TNS. 

Incorporated by James Walter Thompson in 1896, JWT ended its journey in Pakistan by becoming JWT-Grey and merging into digital agency Wunderman to create ‘Wunderman Thompson’ in the rest of the world. What JWT-Grey and WPP did with JWT-Lahore was unethical and unprecedented. As the saying goes “a company is as good as its people” and one cannot agree more.