BBDO Americas Head Troy Ruhanen Takes on New Omnicom Group Post

Will Help Holding Company Drive Cross-Agency Collaboration for Largest Clients

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Troy Ruhanen, of BBDO's seniormost executives, has been recruited by Omnicom Group CEO John Wren to take on a role at the holding company level.

Mr. Ruhanen -- an Australian native who joined BBDO's flagship New York in 2004 from Leo Burnett and quickly ascended to oversee the agency's biggest region -- has exited as chairman-CEO of the Americas. He's now executive VP of Omnicom Group, with the responsibility for driving cross-agency collaboration and innovation for Omnicom's largest clients. That list includes the likes of AT&T, Pepsi, McDonald's, Volkswagen, Mars and Apple.

Troy Ruhanen
Troy Ruhanen

"Troy is a rising leader within Omnicom and has a proven track record of effectively managing some of BBDO's largest clients," said Omnicom's president-CEO John Wren in a statement. "He is a tireless collaborator, builder of bridges between agencies and offices and is experienced in all facets of developing and implementing award-winning marketing campaigns. His global experience in multiple categories including consumer packaged goods, auto, telcom, beverage and technology is perfect for the role of strengthening our relationships with our biggest clients by providing them with better and more integrated services."

BBDO is not replacing Mr. Ruhanen's position and regional heads will continue to report to global CEO Andrew Robertson.

The timing of Mr. Ruhanen's appointment to a post that's focused on corralling the resources of the larger group is interesting for two reasons. For one thing, ad holding companies are increasingly trying to prove their worth to clients by being more hands on in crafting swat teams of agency talent that can serve a marketer's multidisciplinary needs. There was a time when Omnicom Group had a reputation in adland for being more hands off and letting the agency brands make such decisions, but increasingly, it's responding to client demands for custom resources.

Just last week, Nissan announced it was forming a new bespoke agency under Omnicom called Nissan United that uses talent from several of the company's shops, including TBWA, OMD and Interbrand. The "team agency" model has been very popular at WPP, which claims to have 30-some teams built to serve clients, and increasingly Interpublic Group has also been beefing up its capabilities in this space with offerings like Commonwealth for Chevy and Rogue for Cadillac.

Mr. Ruhanen's appointment also comes as Omnicom is -- pending approval -- set to merge with French giant Publicis Groupe to form the largest ad holding company in the world. His position could be vital in helping assess and organize the joint firm's offerings for clients once a deal is approved.

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