MEC Taps Carl Fremont As First Global Digital Chief

Digitas Vet Will Oversee Digital Trading Platforms, Online Video, Mobile and Other Specialities

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Carl Fremont
Carl Fremont

WPP-owned media agency MEC has hired Carl Fremont in the newly-created role of global chief digital officer. He most recently spent more than a dozen years at Publicis Groupe-owned Digitas.

The move comes as marketers increasingly invest in global partnerships with digital media companies and agencies look for ways to streamline their digital capabilities across regions.

MEC global CEO Charles Courtier said Mr. Fremont "will draw together our digital leadership and form a team that develops, grows and drives our digital business globally...Our business and clients' businesses are increasingly being driven on a global basis. What goes on in the U.S. heavily influences the development of digital in other parts of the world, and vice versa."

For Mr. Fremont, it's a return to WPP. Prior to joining Digitas as head of the global media practice in 2000, he was senior VP-media services at CRM giant Wunderman, which is part of the WPP Y&R network. Publicis Groupe bought Digitas in 2006. During his 16-year tenure at Wunderman, he managed all direct marketing activities for the company including Ford, Citibank, American Express and AT&T. There, he also met Mr. Courtier, then a media director at Y&R, for the first time.

In the new role, Mr. Fremont will report to Mr. Courtier, who's based in London, but he won't relocate from his home base of New York. Among Mr. Fremont's responsibilities will be building his own team and overseeing the specialty capabilities across regions, including: search, digital trading platforms, social, display, online video, mobile, emerging technologies, digital content, production services and performance.

He will likely keep busy with clients looking to create better global consistency via the growing number of media channels both on- and offline. MEC in October 2011 won the global Marriott business following a consolidation pitch, and the shop's also counts as global clients AT&T, Ikea and Chanel. The latter is currently up for review.

Chief digital officers aren't a staple at all media agencies, but within GroupM -- the agency network also encompasses MEC, MediaCom' class='directory_entry' title='Ad Age LookBook'>Mediacom, Maxus and Mindshare -- Mindshare also touts a global digital leader.

Outside the agency network, companies like Kraft spinoff Mondelez and Unilever also recently appointed media agencies to spearhead global planning. The trend points to the globalization of brands brought about by partnerships with global digital players such as Google, Microsoft, YouTube and Facebook.

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