Omnicom Group has appointed Kathleen Saxton as its first-ever global chief marketing officer.
Omnicom hires its first global CMO
Saxton, who will assume the role on Jan. 1, joins the company from Medialink, where she served as managing director for Europe Middle East and Africa. She is also a co-founder of Advertising Week Europe. Prior to her role at Medialink, Saxton ran her own talent advisory firm, The Lighthouse, for a decade and held marketing positions at Sky Television, Publicis Groupe's Saatchi and Omnicom's PHD.
While still a relatively new phenomenon, CMO roles at the holding company level are becoming more common. Until recently, Justin Billingsley served as Publicis Groupe’s global CMO since 2020, prior to his exit earlier this month. WPP hired its first chief marketing and growth officer, Laurent Ezekiel, in 2019 and Stagwell’s Global CMO Ryan Linder joined in 2013. While IPG doesn’t have its own CMO, Lynn Lewis was elevated to global CMO of IPG’s Mediabrands in January.
"Kathleen steps into this role with a deep understanding of the solutions that modern global clients want in order to succeed in a transformed consumer world," Daryl Simm, president and chief operating officer of Omnicom, said in a statement. "Her proven marketing skills will elevate our incredible agency talent and our connected client solutions that achieve better business results."
The news comes a week after the holding company increased its organic revenue guidance for the year, despite Omnicom’s Chairman-CEO John Wren preaching caution for the rest of the year due to possible economic difficulties.
Wren said on the earnings call last week that Omnicom has “a healthy level of caution” given macro factors including the war in Ukraine, inflation, rising interest rates and continuing global supply-chain disruption.
“We are internally acting as if the markets are going to be extremely difficult,” he said, noting that the holding company is looking at operating costs and ways to increase productivity.
Omnicom has made several key appointments across its holding company leadership in recent months.
Last week, Andrea Lennon was appointed as Omnicom's chief client officer. In September, Christopher Stanger was named the U.S. CEO of Omnicom Media Group’s Hearts & Science, while Dana Basile was appointed chief operating officer. In July, Christina Hanson was named the CEO of OMD USA.
In November 2021, Simm, previously the CEO of OMG, was named the president and chief operating officer of Omnicom as part of a succession plan for Wren, Omnicom’s CEO. In the same month, Florian Adamski was named the new CEO of OMG, and his previous position as CEO of OMD Worldwide was filled by George Manas, who previously served as chief media officer of OMD U.S. In March 2022, Ralph Pardo was named the CEO of OMG North America.