Lee Newman, president at Ogilvy's Chicago office, has been named the U.S. CEO for the newly formed Mullen Lowe Group, two weeks after the merger of Interpublic's Mullen and Lowe.
Mr. Newman will report to Mullen Lowe Global CEO Alex Leikikh, who was Mullen's top executive until the formation of the new global network. He'll work with U.S. Chief Creative Officer Mark Wenneker and oversee the Boston, Los Angeles and North Carolina offices of what had been Mullen along with the former Lowe office in New York. He will be based in Los Angeles.
Mr. Newman comes to Mullen Lowe from Ogilvy Chicago, where he'd been president since 2012. No successor will be named, Ogilvy said, and his duties will be assumed by Chairman-CEO Jack Rooney. Mr. Newman had previously been managing director at Wieden & Kennedy's Amsterdam office, where he oversaw teams that worked on Nike, Coke, Heineken and P&G.
Mr. Newman's location in Los Angeles owes partly to Acura, the anchor client for the Mullen's office there, but he said he also wanted to work closely with Mr. Wenneker, who is based there as well.
"I've been watching the agency develop and evolve," Mr. Newman said of Mullen. "It so clearly has creativity at its core, but my interest goes beyond that. It's got a strong sense of itself and it has this challenger mentality that gets me excited."
"The merger breeds all kinds of new opportunities," he added.
Mr. Newman has also held account management roles at Fallon in Minneapolis, where he worked on the BMW Films campaign; McKinney, where he led the Audi of America account during the development of the "Art of the Heist" campaign; and GSD&M.
When Interpublic announced the new network two weeks ago, it named Mr. Leikikh as Mullen Lowe Group's global CEO but did not mention leadership for the U.S. operations, which are mostly Mullen's locations, although Campbell Ewald does report up through Mullen Lowe Group.
Interpublic in the past has tried to merge Lowe with other agencies, such as Deutsch. The Mullen combination "reinforces IPG's commitment to growing a third global full-service network within the company's portfolio," Interpublic said two weeks ago. IPG's other two big networks are FCB and McCann.
"Lee is a great find for our U.S. network," said Mr. Leikikh in a statement. "He has a terrific creative pedigree with his Fallon and Wieden experience, coupled with significant operational experience running Ogilvy Chicago and Wieden's Amsterdam office. What's more, he has over a decade of luxury automotive experience on BMW and Audi, which means our Acura clients will benefit immediately from his expertise."
The newly merged entity is already off to a good start, with its win last week of the Royl Caribbean account after a review.