Enigma, one of Australia’s largest independent media, creative and brand agencies, has lured former Wunderman Thompson CEO, John Gutteridge, to the newly created role of National CEO as the agency plans for significant expansion.
For the first time since its inception 30 years ago, Enigma has decided to create the new National CEO role to help drive this expansion and growth. Gutteridge, who also becomes an equity partner in Enigma, will work closely with Enigma founder and Director, Lisa Sutton Gardner, to realise the agency’s ambitions to grow its services, capabilities, and clients. Enigma houses creative, media, brand strategy and design, with offices in Sydney, Newcastle, and Brisbane.
Gutteridge brings 25+ years of global marketing communications experience to the new role, with extensive experience in leadership, digital transformation, mergers and acquisitions across APAC. He began his career in London before moving to Australia where he became CEO of JWT Australia and NZ. In 2016 Gutteridge became CEO for JWT and Mirum APAC, bringing together the creative and digital services under one cohesive vision across 17 diverse markets.
In 2019, he returned to Australia to lead the merger between JWT and Wunderman across five offices in Australia and NZ. Gutteridge briefly left the industry to launch MAWDE, a direct-to-consumer, purpose driven ecommerce clothing brand that manufactures in Australia using sustainable materials.
Says Sutton Gardner (pictured with Gutteridge): “We have run a healthy but understated business for three decades now and have been planning the next chapter for Enigma for more than a year. We are ambitious and the business is about to embark on a very exciting journey of expansion and growth. It’s rare that an agency with its roots in the regional centre of Newcastle, which has an incredible talent bed, has successfully expanded to Sydney and Brisbane – it’s a key differentiator for our agency and I like to say we were ahead of the curve of the ‘work from anywhere’ phenomenon.”
“John brings to the National CEO role all the skills, experience, energy, and passion I have been rigorously searching for. We found instant chemistry, he and I are both entrepreneurs, and he is a great fit for our humble and approachable culture. I’m incredibly excited to work with John to realise our growth ambitions.”
Says Gutteridge: “Meeting Lisa was serendipitous, I felt inspired at the prospect of returning to the industry for the right opportunity, and this is exactly that. It was apparent very quickly that Lisa and the Enigma team have created a fantastic business and I was instantly drawn to Lisa’s authenticity and humility. Above all, it’s clear there’s a genuine ambition and commitment to take the business to another level and create a truly iconic and distinctive agency for the future.
“The timing has been thoughtfully orchestrated. Having launched MAWDE and established the supply chain, we now move into the next phase of that journey which will have less reliance on my time. At Enigma I have been entrusted with the responsibility to help lead a talented team of people. It will be getting my full attention, I’m incredibly excited to get stuck in.”
The appointment of Gutteridge follows Karl Bates joining Enigma this month in the newly created role of Executive Strategy Director. Another senior appointment will be announced shortly.