MRM CEO Landsberg Moves to McCann Worldgroup

Will Lead Strategic Development and Acquisition Initiatives; Kolb to Take Over at Digital Shop

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Marc Landsberg is stepping down as CEO of digital agency MRM after less than a year in the role as he heads to parent McCann Worldgroup to become president of corporate business development.

Mr. Landsberg's duties there will be to lead strategic development and acquisition initiatives. At MRM, Chief Operating Officer and Global President Bill Kolb will succeed him.

This is just the latest in what's proven to be a continual executive shuffle at Worldgroup since CEO Nick Brien took the reins in 2010 to fix the mammoth and ailing Interpublic Group of Cos. network.

Mr. Landsberg replaced Reuben Hendell as MRM CEO last October. Mr. Landsberg was brought on to both helm MRM and lead merger and acquisitions for Worldgroup. In coming months, Mr. Landsberg will transition his MRM role to Mr. Kolb, a close cohort during his tenure there, and then will serve as non-executive chairman of the digital shop to maintain relationships with clients such as Intel.

Shortly after joining MRM, Mr. Landsberg set a five-year plan for the agency that includes focusing on existing clients while pitching fewer and bigger accounts. Less than a year later, Messrs. Landsberg and Kolb report that the agency, which just a year ago was said to be poorly managed and among the least profitable at Worldgroup, is in its "best financial shape in both the top line and bottom line." MRM increased worldwide revenue to $278 million in 2010 from $250 million the year prior, according to Ad Age Data Center.

"We're now well ahead of year-ago [results] on top-line [revenue], and are seeing meaningful improvement in net income, which is almost up to industry standards for marketing services," Mr. Landsberg said.

While MRM has lost business from client Diageo for Smirnoff and Crown Royal in recent months, it has added responsibilities on other existing accounts from General Motors and Verizon, Mr. Landsberg said. The agency also won two "very big" pieces of new business recently, one for global work and the other for the U.S., but he declined to elaborate. It will have to continue that streak without Michael Miller, exec-VP-chief growth officer of MRM Worldwide, who recently left the company.

Late last year, MRM won business-to-business strategy and messaging duties for Intel, splitting the creative account with Publicis Groupe 's Razorfish.

Last summer, Worldgroup sibling Campbell-Mithun absorbed MRM's 50-person Minneapolis office. When asked if the MRM brand will ever be absorbed entirely into Worldgroup, Mr. Kolb's answer was definitive.

"The MRM brand will absolutely continue to exist five years from now, as well as 10 years and 20 years from now," he said.

Mr. Landsberg came to MRM from venture capital firm Lake Capital. He will now focus on M&A for McCann Worldgroup with special attention to emerging markets such as China and Brazil and agencies specializing in emerging media, such as social and mobile. Before Lake, Mr. Landsberg was global president of Publicis' Arc Worldwide.

Mr. Kolb has been MRM's COO since late 2007, meaning he'll be an anomaly at Worldgroup, which has largely cycled out the old guard under Mr. Brien's massive overhaul.

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