Robin Dargue

Global advertising agency WPP has appointed Robin Dargue as its group CIO, a newly created role.

David Nicoll, who has been with WPP since June 1994 and became the company’s parent company CIO in June 1999, will remain at the company, reporting to Dargue.  

Dargue’s appointment was published in WPP’s annual results today, as the company strives to improve its operational effectiveness and move deeper into data analysis.

WPP, led by Martin Sorrell, made 62 acquisitions last year as it focused on new markets, new media and data. Some 22 of the acquisitions were in 'data investment management, including data analystics and the application of techonolgy,' according to the preliminary results.

WPP is in the process of consolidating its IT infrastructure and provision of services, and centralising its systems development and applications, to create efficiencies and cut costs. It started the IT project in 2012 and said that it expects the programme to take three to five years to deliver “full benefit”.

“In 2013, the group incurred restructuring costs of £5 million as a result of the continuing rationalisation of its IT infrastructure,” WPP said in its 2013 preliminary year end results today.

“Restructuring costs in 2012 of £93.4 million included £62.9 million of severance costs arising from a structural reassessment of certain of the group’s operations, primarily in Western Continental Europe, and £30.5 million of other costs, primarily accelerated depreciation of IT assets in the US and Europe, arising from the overhaul of its centralised IT infrastructure.”

Dargue, a computer science graduate from Strathclyde University, joins from Alcatel-Lucent, where he was executive vice-president in charge of business and information technology transformation. Prior to this role, he was CIO and technology director at the Royal Mail Group, in charge of an IT-based transformation programme and before Royal Mail he was CIO with drinks manufacturers Diageo.

Dargue was 21st in the 2013 CIO 100.