NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Mindshare, one of the world's largest media agencies, has announced that Scott Neslund, its North American CEO, is leaving the agency and is being replaced by agency vet Phil Cowdell. Mr. Cowdell, who previously ran the Ford and Unilever accounts for the WPP-owned shop, will oversee the agency's largest market.
Mr. Neslund has been with Mindshare for four years and served as North American CEO since February 2007. While the statement released by the agency said Mr. Neslund was leaving to pursue other opportunities, it wouldn't be a stretch to believe that Mindshare's less-than-stellar new-business record had something to do with this decision.
Mindshare recently lost its $250 million Wrigley account to Publicis Groupe's MediaVest as part of a Wrigley-Mars-consolidation review and also came up short in the massive Home Depot review, which saw the business remain with Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative. And one of its bigger clients, Bristol-Myers Squib, recently put its media account up for review.
In a statement released by the agency this morning, Mindshare Worldwide CEO Dominic Proctor said he wanted to thank Mr. Neslund for his "many contributions and accomplishments over the past four years and wish him well in his future endeavors." The agency had no other comment on his leaving other than what was in the statement.
Last year Mindshare was named to Ad Age's Agency A-List in large part because of the agency's thought leadership on issues such as eliminating integration fees.
Mr. Cowdell will be responsible for the management and operation of all Mindshare activities in five U.S. cities and Canada and an estimated $8.6 billion in billings, according to research company Recma. Mindshare North America has nearly 600 employees. Mr. Cowdell is based in Chicago but will relocate to New York and report to Mr. Proctor.
Previously Mr. Cowdell led the media operation of Team Detroit, WPP's Ford-specific operation made up of JWT, Young & Rubicam, Ogilvy & Mather, Wunderman and Mindshare, where he led the media portion of the business across the company's Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo and Mazda brands. Mindshare said the business accounts for more than $3 billion in billings. Mr. Cowdell also served as worldwide managing partner and Mindshare's global head of planning in London, where he ran the global Unilever business.