Marketing Talent

Newly formed VML announces its South African leadership team

By our African Marketing Confederation News Team | 2024

Recent global merger of agencies Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R creates a new SA business and leadership team.

By our African Marketing Confederation News Team.


Jarred Cinman has been named as CEO of VML South Africa. Working alongside Cinman will be Diane Wilson who has been named as VML’s Chief Operations Officer.

Diane Wilson (left), Jarred Cinman and Tebogo Skwambane. Photo: VML

A leader in South Africa’s agency landscape for three decades, Cinman has been at the forefront of digital evolution in the industry, having started and led South Africa’s first digital agency in the 1990s.


Wilson joined shortly thereafter, and their 27-year partnership as a leadership team has seen them co-found and lead Cambrient and then Native, which ultimately became VMLY&R South Africa. They have been co-CEOs of this business for the past five years.


Under Wilson and Cinman’s leadership, VMLY&R South Africa won heavy-hitting accounts, such as Vodacom, and numerous awards, both locally and internationally – including two silver Effie Awards, Seven Smarties Awards (six of them gold), and Agency of the Year at the New Generation Awards in 2023, as well as three Effie Awards, plus four Cannes Lions Awards in 2022.

Merger of Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R


In October last year WPP announced a major evolution in its offering to clients with the global merger of Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R. Operational from 1 January 2024, the combined entity, known as VML, will be the industry’s largest creative company and has entered the South African market with offices in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.


VML South Africa’s clients include leading brands such as Vodacom, Standard Bank, BMW, Nestlé, Unilever, Hollard, Nando’s, and SA Tourism.


Cinman will report to Ewen Sturgeon, CEO of VML in the EMEA region. On the appointment, Sturgeon commented, “I am absolutely delighted that Jarred and Di will be leading the VML brand in South Africa. Their client-centric focus, inclusive leadership style and forward-thinking approach to innovation and technology will ensure we create a thriving business and that our clients are offered the very best across brand experience, customer experience and commerce.”


Fran Luckin becomes Chief Creative Officer, as announced at the end of last year. Tebogo Skwambane, who also holds the position of WPP Country Manager for South Africa, is announced as Executive Chairperson.


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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.