|Photo: Scott Gries|
Launched in April 2003 and headed by CEO Irwin Gotlieb, Group M is the unit within WPP charged with overseeing and supporting the holding company’s multiple media networks -- MindShare, Mediaedge:cia, MediaCom and Maxus -- with tools, support, research and analytics.
Early on, Group M was leanly staffed: In addition to Mr. Gotlieb, it had less than 100 employees, many focused on information technology and finances. Only a smattering of senior executives carried an actual Group M title. That’s changed over the past six months.
"In order to progress, we need more infrastructure," Mr. Gotlieb said. "The media context in which we’re operating is evolving rapidly, so we have to act aggressively."
Some of the recent hires, such as Adam Smith, who joined in November in the newly created role of futures director, are in keeping with Group M’s mission to provide its operating units with the research and tools necessary to serve clients. "You don’t need to do [forecasting] three or four times over," Mr. Gotlieb said. "You do it once, well."
Mr. Smith, who comes from Publicis Groupe’s ZenithOptimedia, will work not only with the media networks but also with agencies in other disciplines, such as direct marketing and digital.
Other changes in Group M’s staff are the result of management’s plan to expand the unit’s geographic reach as well as the breadth of current disciplines.
Two former MindShare executives took on Group M duties to complete the unit's global coverage. Kelly Clark, most recently head of MindShare in the U.K., officially begins a new gig as CEO, Group M, Europe, Middle East and Africa. One of his colleagues at MindShare, John Steedman, who had been chairman of Asia/Pacific, takes on the role of Group M CEO for that region. Those two appointments, along with Mr. Gotlieb, who in addition to being CEO covers North America for Group M, and David Byles, who has run Group M Latin America for a year, round out the world.
With demand for branded entertainment increasing worldwide, Peter Tortorici, who joined MindShare in 2004 to head its branded-entertainment efforts, several months back took a new title of president, Group M Entertainment. Kate Marsh, most recently a consultant and head of Primo Channels for Sky Italia, joins Group M Entertainment to work with Mr. Tortorici. She reports to Mr. Clark and will be based in London.