AEGIS HIRES NEW MEDIA CHIEF

Former WPP Exec Mainardo de Nardis to Head Global Operations

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Aegis Group today named a top WPP Group executive as CEO of its global media operations, even as potential suitors -- including WPP -- continue to eye the company.

Mainardo de Nardis, a former top WPP executive, has agreed to become CEO of Aegis' global media operations.
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Mainardo de Nardis, most recently CEO Worldwide of WPP’s Mediaedge:cia, will become chief executive of Aegis Media and also a director of Aegis Group.

'Tremendous capture'
“Mainardo is a great guy, who has started his own businesses and also expanded the networks of companies where he’s worked,” said Robert Lerwill, Aegis Group chief executive. “He understands the business inside and out and is a tremendous capture for us.”

Mr. de Naris, 44, started his career in general agencies, working at McCann Erickson in Italy before moving on to a job at Y&R. He co-founded an agency, Albert Cremona, then in 1987 moved to MediaNetwork, a media-only agency where he was deputy chairman and partner. When MediaNetwork in 1993 merged with CIA, Mr. de Nardis became CEO of the merged entity’s business in Europe, Middle East and Africa. In 1998, he was named CEO of CIA Worldwide. When CIAs parent, Tempus Group, was bought by WPP in 2002, Mr. de Nardis became CEO of Mediaedge:cia.

No start date
His start date at Aegis has not yet been determined; Mr. de Nardis has said that he will join “as soon as his existing commitments allow.” One executive familiar with the matter said that Mr. de Nardis’ contract with WPP requires him to give 12 months’ notice. Given the current interest in Aegis, it could be a very different company by that time.

As CEO of Aegis Media, Mr. de Nardis will likely oversee the activities of the company’s various media entities, which include Carat, Isobar, Vizeum and Posterscope. These duties were formerly handled by Mr. Lerwill.

“I’m ready to do something new,“ said Mr. de Nardis. “I’ve always admired Aegis and its focus on media and research. Its emphasis on those areas gives it more opportunities and less baggage.”

Not related to sale talks
Mr. Lerwill said the decision to hire an executive to run Aegis’ media operations has been in the works for a long time and that assigning responsibilities to a new executive is not related to Aegis Group’s current discussions with potential suitors.

“Since becoming CEO in February, I’ve been working out the best operational structure for Aegis,” he said. “I recognized, and the board did too, that we needed someone who could coordinate operations between our various media units and oversee them all.” Mr. de Nardis’ counterpart overseeing Aegis research operations is Adrian Chedore, CEO of Synovate.

At Mediaedge, Mr. de Nardis’ duties will be absorbed by Mediaedge Executive Chairman Charles Courtier, said Irwin Gotlieb, who oversees all of WPPs media operations as chief executive of Group M.

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Laurel Wentz contributed to this report

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