CPB has tapped GSD&M President Marianne Malina to be its new global CEO. The appointment is the agency’s latest move to rebuild, following major account losses of Infiniti and Domino's as well as the departure of key execs, including former global CEO Erik Sollenberg, over the past year.
Malina is a long-time vet of GSD&M and started her tenure there in 2005, rising the ranks from creative managing director to president, a role in which she has served since 2012.
John Boiler, chair at MDC's Constellation and co-founder of 72andSunny, describes Malina as a “force of nature. There’s a reason why GSD&M has the stickiest relationship with clients—that’s Marianne. She’s the chief client whisperer and she’s so passionate about clients and their business. Not only can they pitch and win, but they retain more than any other agency I’ve seen. That will be a really important strand to add to the DNA of CPB.”
Moreover, Boiler says, her turnaround experience will be crucial for rebooting the MDC shop. “When her agency lost AT&T, she was tasked with rebuilding, which she did. She’s got incredible character, is decisive and quick to take action. That’s one of the things CPB will need going forward because as everything is so disrupted now, you’ve got to pivot and move quickly.”
As for why she’s decided to make the leap, “Why not?” Malina says. “I’m a builder. I’m not a manager. The bigger the problem, the more I’m interested. What CPB has done for the ad industry in this century is epic. Every single person in this industry is using a page from their playbook. An agency that changes the way we do business, that’s what’s at the core of this brand. You put that into today’s culture, what’s going on now, this is an opportunity of a lifetime.”
“We welcome Marianne to the growing MDC family,” said Mark Penn, Chairman and CEO of MDC Partners in a statement. “CPB has always stood for disruptive and effective marketing, and this appointment underscores our commitment to bringing the agency every resource it needs to grow and succeed.”