Jerry Buhlmann joins Dept as chairman


Dept, the private equity-backed Dutch agency group, has appointed Jerry Buhlmann as its non-executive chairman.

He will work closely with Dept’s chief executive, Dimi Albers, and the rest of the senior team to support the digital agency’s expansion.

Buhlmann is one of the most senior former agency chiefs of the last decade with experience of leading a stock market-listed company.

He became chief executive of Britain’s Aegis Group in 2010, before selling the FTSE-250 company to Japan’s Dentsu and going on to become chief executive of the enlarged Dentsu Aegis Network in 2013.

Buhlmann remained in this role until 2018.

Albers said: “As we continue our rapid, global growth his perspectives and experience will be hugely valuable, especially as we seek to maintain the agility, flexibility and personal relationships of a boutique agency.”

Currently, Buhlmann holds a range of roles, including chairman of private equity-funded digital agency Croud, chair of higher-education marketing specialist, Hybrid, and senior independent director at Inchcape.

The Carylye Group invested in Dept in 2019. Buhlmann’s appointment follows a year of expansion for the “challenger” agency, which bought UK marketing technology shops Byte and Feed in 2021, and creative studio Hello Monday in 2022.

Buhlmann said there was a lot of opportunity for Dept because of “disruption to the brand and consumer value chain for the foreseeable future”.

He said: “Dept is strongly placed as a leading disruptor in the agency sector, delivering pioneering work for brands with an expanding global footprint.”

Dept’s clients have included Google, Meta, Amazon and Samsung.

Albers has been beefing up the leadership team in recent months, including recruiting Mickey Kalifa, chief financial officer of UK-listed M&C Saatchi, to take the same role at Dept.

Albers told Campaign last year that Dept has “a big, hairy, audacious goal of becoming the best digital agency in the world” and said a stock market flotation was one of several potential options for the future.

Dept employs around 2,500 people in 30 countries across five continents.

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