OMNICOM SETS STAGE FOR GLOBAL EXPANSION OF PHD

Shakes Up Management at Media Agencies in Overseas Markets

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In a move that will likely dash already dwindling speculation that Omnicom Group will make a play for Aegis, the No. 1 advertising holding company today announced a raft of high-level management changes at media possessions in Asia Pacific and Europe to lay the groundwork for the global expansion of PHD, the smaller of its two media services networks.

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Omnicom said it’s bulking up its management structure at Omnicom Media Group -- which oversees PHD, its larger sibling OMD and other possessions -- naming a chief financial officer, regional heads and a global board. The company said it is also planning additional investments in shared resources including research, digital media, emerging media, sponsorship, entertainment and its media negotiations arm Opera, which leverages the combined clout of both networks.

The moves come as industry watchers wonder whether Omnicom will get involved in what could be a bidding war for Aegis, the London-based research and media company that owns Carat. Aegis and Carat have been the subject of takeover talks this week: Executives familiar with the situation said Publicis Groupe has held discussions with Aegis, while the chairman of Havas, Vincent Bollore, recently acquired a 6% stake in Aegis, is apparently interested in combining Havas and Aegis if possible.

The appointments are basically a game of musical chairs played by executives at OMD, PHD and the corporate media group. Among them, OMD Europe CEO Colin Gottlieb has been named CEO of Omnicom Media Group Europe. Mike Cooper, formerly CEO of OMD Asia Pacific, is taking the Asia Pacific role for the media group. PHD Europe will be run by Managing Director Hilary Jeffrey, who was previously general manager of OMD Europe. Daryl Simm remains chairman-CEO of the media group.

A release from the company did not specify how many countries PHD will be rolled out in, but it did say the move to further the reach of Omnicom Media Group is meant to facilitate an expansion of PHD that will begin this year and be completed in most Asia Pacific and European markets by early 2006.The expansion of the corporate group is designed to better faciliate the sharing of resources

PHD was born as a British agency, known for innovative planning. It was launched in North America in 2002, when a few small Omnicom-owned media shops, including the Chrysler-dedicated buying agency Pentamark, were rolled up and rebranded as PHD. Dwarfed by the massive OMD, PHD had struggled to expand here until recently, when it kicked off a new-business run that included Charles Schwab’s consolidated business, the National Hockey League, Jim Bean Brands and other accounts.

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