Brymer a good move for DDB

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If you know Chuck Brymer, consider yourself in the minority. Mr. Brymer for the past 21 years toiled at branding outfit Interbrand, far removed from the glitz and glam of Mad Ave. Omnicom Group last week named him president-CEO of DDB Worldwide, putting the little-known executive in charge of one of the world's well-known ad agencies. It's an inspired choice.

Omnicom is the best-performing holding company in part because of the attention CEO John Wren pays to identifying and grooming future leaders. The illness and passing of DDB chief Ken Kaess, 51, left the agency with no obvious successor, but Mr. Wren drew on Omnicom's deep talent to fill the void at 437 Madison Ave.

Mr. Kaess' profile was as high as Mr. Brymer's is low. Mr. Kaess spent most of his career at DDB and rose to the pinnacle of his field as chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies. Mr. Brymer drew just one press mention worldwide in all of 2005.

But Mr. Brymer, 46, knows how to build brands, if not his own. He joined Interbrand as U.S. president in 1985 after three years at Omnicom's BBDO; Omnicom made him Interbrand worldwide CEO after buying the consultancy in late 1993. Under his leadership, Interbrand grew to more than 30 offices with C-suite connections to a global roster of blue-chip marketers.

Mr. Brymer is a proven leader, and his experience in marketing services will help a venerable agency figure out its future. Could it be that Mr. Brymer knows little about making TV commercials? Let's hope so.

In buying Interbrand, Omnicom acquired two rising stars: Mr. Brymer and Michael Birkin, now vice chairman of Omnicom and president-CEO of Omnicom Asia-Pacific. Add in BBDO chief Andrew Robertson and CFO Randall Weisenburger, and Omnicom's top ranks include an impressive quartet of executives age 45 to 47. One of them very well could succeed Mr. Wren, who became CEO at age 44 in 1997, when he decides to pass the reins.

But that's getting ahead of things. First, let's see Mr. Brymer build on the foundation at DDB left by Mr. Kaess. Mr. Brymer has what it takes to succeed.
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