Kirk McDonald joins GroupM as North America CEO
GroupM named Xandr’s Kirk McDonald as CEO of North America today, marking the latest shakeup at the top of both companies in recent months.
McDonald, who had previously served as chief business officer and interim head of AT&T’s ad tech unit, will officially join the agency behemoth on September 15, where he will manage $17.6 billion in media investment billings across U.S. and Canada. He will report to GroupM CEO Christian Juhl, who had been leading operations in North America and globally on an interim basis since November.
With the departure of McDonald, Xandr named Mike Welch, who ran product and business development, as the head of the unit.
McDonald is the latest ad executive to depart Xandr in recent months. Former Xandr CEO Brian Lesser left the company in March; shortly after Xandr was folded into WarnerMedia.
At GroupM, McDonald replaces Tim Castree, who left the company in November 2019, just a year after becoming CEO of the North American operations. Castree's exit came amid a larger reshuffling within GroupM that saw Juhl succeed Kelly Clark as global CEO last month. Clark, now a senior advisor to GroupM, had hired Castree and helped lead the creation of Wavemaker, born from the merger of MEC and Maxus in 2017.
Juhl, who previously was the global CEO of GroupM's Essence, oversaw the North American region in Castree's absence. WPP CEO Mark Read said at the time of Juhl's appointment that the new executive had the "right combination of leadership, people and technology skills to build the modern media company." The intersection of media, creative and technology has been a particular focus of Read's within the entirety of WPP since he took over as CEO in 2018.