BBDO Ups Kirsten Flanik to CEO as John Osborn Joins OMD

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Kirsten Flanik and John Osborn at BBDO New York
Kirsten Flanik and John Osborn at BBDO New York  Credit: Billy Siegrist/Courtesy BBDO

John Osborn is leaving his role as CEO of BBDO New York, a post he's held since 2004, to become the U.S. CEO for OMD, the Omnicom Media Group-owned media agency. He will be replaced by Kirsten Flanik, who has held the role of BBDO president since last year.

Osborn succeeds Monica Karo, who is leaving to become OMD Worldwide's chief client officer.

Osborn joined BBDO initially to work on the Pepsi business and later became principal architect of integrated marketing efforts at the agency. Though Osborn's career has been on the creative side of the industry, he said his seat at BBDO gave him a good view into the inner workings of OMD and other media agencies. He was part of the in-house partnership with Omnicom Media Group's Annalect data and analytics platform.

"From where I sat, it was definitely apparent that more and more clients are expecting that the role media plays needs to be much more important in the mix," he told Ad Age. He said an increasingly technological world has put content and context on more equal footing.

John Osborn
John Osborn Credit: Omnicom Media Group

He added that clients are sick of the "somewhat confusing haze of terms" in media, and are looking for more straightforward solutions. "Clients are really yearning for more simplicity," he said.

Daryl Simm, Omnicom Media Group CEO, said in a statement that "agency leadership with experience across the broad spectrum of marketing services is critical to growth and client success."

Flanik, named an Ad Age Woman to Watch in 2010 and featured in Ad Age's 100 Most Influential Women in Advertising in 2012, previously reported to Osborn in her role as president. She will retain the title of president, which she took on last spring, while taking on her new position as CEO.

Kirsten Flanik.
Kirsten Flanik. Credit: BBDO

One of Flanik's main missions as BBDO New York's new leader is to "continue to focus on our people, the work and the way we work and to deliver innovative solutions that help drive our clients' businesses forward," she said in a statement.

Prior to being named president last year, Flanik was managing director and had been overseeing a number of accounts, including FedEx, ExxonMobil and Tropicana. She joined the agency in 2006 to oversee the Mars U.S. business.

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