Group Inc. named new leaders at its PHD and Hearts & Science media-buying agencies as the advertising holding company confronts changes including shifting consumer habits.
Catherine Sullivan, who had been investment chief at Omnicom Media Group in North America, will lead PHD as chief executive in the U.S.
She succeeds Nathan Brown, who is leaving PHD after six years as U.S. CEO. “It’s time for change at PHD, and I can genuinely feel really encouraged for Catherine,” Mr. Brown said. He plans to take time out to evaluate his next move.
Omnicom Media Group is the umbrella group housing Omnicom’s media agencies: PHD, Hearts & Science and OMD.
Ralph Pardo, who was president of Omnicom’s cross-agency
account, was named U.S. CEO at Hearts & Science. He succeeds Erin Matts, who is moving to another role within Omnicom, the company said.
Omnicom’s shake-up comes as the company, which has prioritized data and technology, focuses on broader changes affecting the ad business, such as the rise in streaming video, calls for better policing of content on social platforms like
and the pandemic’s effect on the economy.
“The two of them are the closest to the changes happening in the market,” said Scott Hagedorn, North America CEO of Omnicom Media Group, referring to Ms. Sullivan and Mr. Pardo. “Ultimately we need leaders who are very intuitive and who understand the big changes happening and how quickly they’re happening.”
Ms. Sullivan is plugged into how commercial inventory is changing, and the new ways it can be bought and sold, he said. Mr. Pardo, he added, has a unique business perspective after supporting AT&T during its transition to a media company following its acquisition of WarnerMedia and advertising technology company AppNexus.
Geoffrey Calabrese, president of Omnicom media-buying group OMnet, will succeed Ms. Sullivan as OMG investment chief.
Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March, ad holding companies have seen their revenue decline by double-digit percentages as advertisers facing uncertainty pull out of media commitments and pare back budgets.
Omnicom’s world-wide revenue in the second quarter decreased 24.7% compared with the same period last year, the company reported in July.
“Clients’ approach to their media is out the window with Covid,” said Mr. Hagedorn. “A quant-based approach is still really important, but now we’re getting clients through turbulent times.”
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