Lyle Schwartz, who has led GroupM’s upfront efforts since 2016, will be leaving the company at the end of the month.
“We wish him the very best in his future endeavors and thank him for his many contributions to our company, our culture, our people, and our clients,” GroupM said in an emailed statement.
Schwartz, who spend more than three decades at GroupM, was instrumental in the development of the C3 TV ratings currency in 2007. He's also been an advocate in the push to define viewability in digital, while campaigning for the adoption of platform-agnostic measurement.
While Schwartz’s background was in research and analytics, he became president of investment, taking over for Rino Scanzoni in November 2016. Then, in June 2019, he was repositioned to chief integration officer of GroupM U.S.
That shift was part of a larger leadership shuffle within the media group that also saw Jill Kelly from Digitas join the company as U.S. chief marketing officer. Those changes were made under Tim Castree, ex-North American CEO, who left GroupM in November.
Since his departure, Castree has been linked to Mike Bloomberg’s 2020 presidential campaign, which ended this week. Castree declined to comment on Wednesday regarding his plans post-Bloomberg.
Castree’s exit followed the appointment of Christian Juhl as global CEO of GroupM, who succeeded Kelly Clark. Clark, now a senior advisor to GroupM, had hired Castree and helped lead the creation of Wavemaker, which was formed through the merger of MEC and Maxus.
One person close to the company told Ad Age that these changes were made as GroupM focuses on bolstering business in the critical North American region, and as WPP CEO Mark Read instills the right leadership to execute his three-year turnaround plan.
Schwartz’s exit is the latest departure at the agency, with David Grabert, global head of marketing and communications, having also parted ways with GroupM a few weeks ago, the company confirmed.
Last week, WPP’s stock plunged to its lowest level since 2012 after the holding company reported North American organic revenue declines in the fourth quarter and full year.
On an earnings call, Read said the company is still on track to deliver the goals of its turnaround plan that began last year, which include positive organic growth in 2021. He noted how WPP’s issues are “primarily in the U.S.,” with every other region having posted revenue increases and organic growth in 2019.