Fletcher's appointment is part of a top management restructure meant to revive Universal McCann's flagging fortunes, focusing on a drive for new business. Further appointments are expected over the coming months.
He joins Universal McCann from Carat, where he has worked for the past 10 years. His most recent position was as head of Carat Deepblue, where he oversaw the pan-European development of the strategic and creative consultancy service.
Prior to that, he was Carat International's global director of communications planning and, previously, director of communications insight and strategy in the UK.
Fletcher said his new role would service his clients' investments. "It is no great surprise that communications planning is evolving as it addresses consumers' own changing relationship with brands.
"Clients around the world are faced with the daily challenge to achieve competitive advantage."
He added: "In joining UM, I will ensure that we contribute that advantage through communications to ensure maximum impact for our clients' investments."
Fletcher will work at the London offices of Universal McCann alongside newly appointed EMEA chief executive Graham Duff.
He added: "Building positive brand perceptions and relationships in the minds of consumers, connecting and engaging when consumers are at their most receptive is no longer about reach and frequency. To architect the most effective communication solutions, we need greater emphasis on the contact balanced with the content."
Duff was appointed to replace Chris Shaw who left the Interpublic agency just before Christmas, after 11 years at the network, to pursue other interests.
Nick Brien, president and worldwide chief executive of Universal McCann, said: "It is critical to have the talent with the professional excellence to ensure that we deliver breakthrough marketing communication solutions for our clients. That is why I am so delighted to welcome Wayne Fletcher to this important leadership role."