What: WPP’s GroupM North America announced a simplified management structure in the U.S. and Canada centered around two fundamental pillars: media investment and platform services. Lyle Schwartz is promoted to President of Investment and Phil Cowdell is appointed President of Platform Services, both reporting to Brian Lesser, CEO of GroupM North America. The multicultural unit will not be impacted by the new structure.
Why it matters: Programmatic media buying and other trends are changing the environment for media buying and planning agencies.
GroupM, the media investment group of WPP, announced a simplified management structure in the U.S. and Canada designed to deliver consistent resources to GroupM agencies centered around two fundamental pillars: media investment and platform services.
UPDATE: “The new structure does not impact the multicultural team,” Gonzalo del Fa, president of Group M Multicultural (photo) tells Portada. “GroupM’s vision about the opportunity of the multicultural business remains intact,” del Fa adds.
Media Investment Arm
The Media Investment arm will refocus GroupM’s investment strategies around data and platforms, while the new Platform Solutions division will centralize and scale GroupM technology used by its six agencies.
The changes will streamline the organization, ensuring continued product innovation and better unification of services for GroupM agencies including Mindshare, MEC, MediaCom, Maxus, Essence and M/SIX.
Platform Services will encompass programmatic media, search marketing, social media, digital operations and digital analytics.
As part of the simplified structure, Lyle Schwartz is promoted to President of Investment, overseeing the entirety of GroupM’s investment resources, marketplace analytics and media implementation.Lyle Schwartz is named President of Investment, North America, with responsibility for overseeing investment in the company’s largest region, where more than US$30B (RECMA) is invested on behalf of clients annually.
Schwartz has more than 30 years of experience at WPP inclusive of his early positions at Y&R prior to its acquisition by WPP. Schwartz helped build the research department at GroupM, which is already fully integrated into the trading organization to support insights-driven ‘one voice trading,’ another point of distinction in GroupM’s approach to media investment. Schwartz has made significant contributions to a number of company and industry-wide milestones, including the development of C3 ratings for time-shifted TV, defining viewability in digital and pushing the industry for platform-agnostic video measurement. All North American investment team members across TV, digital, radio, print and local now report up to Schwartz.
Phil Cowdell is appointed President of Platform Services, a new organization that encompasses all of GroupM’s data-centric solutions, including programmatic media, search marketing, social media, digital operations and digital analytics. Schwartz and Cowdell report to Brian Lesser, CEO of GroupM North America.
In conjunction with Schwartz’s promotion, Rino Scanzoni, GroupM’s long-standing Chief Investment Officer in North America, is transitioning to Executive Chairman and CEO of both Midas Exchange, a WPP company focused on corporate trade, and Modi Media, GroupM’s advanced television division in the U.S. Scanzoni will continue to build and expand new trading products as well as contribute to market strategy for the group.
“Rino Scanzoni is widely recognized as one of the most determined, innovative and influential media investment chiefs, not only in the U.S., but worldwide,” said Irwin Gotlieb, Chairman of GroupM Global. “Rino’s unwavering focus on negotiating the best media opportunities and the best value for our clients, combined with his uncanny ability to find solutions that also benefit our media partners has strengthened the media ecosystem in the U.S. and has driven our clients’ and GroupM’s success. We’re so very pleased that he will continue working with our group in a new capacity focused on Midas Exchange, Modi Media and strategic marketplace opportunities.”
Phil Cowdell is appointed President, Platform Services, North America, a new organization that will encompass programmatic media, search marketing, social media, digital operations and digital analytics. This unified team will enable marketers who work with GroupM’s agencies to find, create and activate their most important audiences and gain a competitive advantage.
For the past two years, Cowdell served as the North American CEO of MediaCom where he has been instrumental in helping the agency win more than US$1.5 billion in new business from companies including Anheuser-Busch InBev, Bayer, Sony Playstation and Mars. With 29 years of industry experience, Cowdell joined WPP’s Mindshare in 2001 and has since held numerous leadership positions across GroupM and WPP in EMEA and North America. (MediaCom North America continues to be led by Sasha Savic, CEO of MediaCom, U.S. and Kevin Johnson, CEO of MediaCom Canada.)
On Cowdell’s appointment, Lesser said: “Aligning our teams and resources under an experienced leader like Phil will expand the support GroupM provides to our agencies and their clients. With his track record leading successful agency teams, he knows very well the need for powerful, nimble and adaptable tools to help drive our clients’ success, and his inspiring leadership will help the Platform Services team do just that.”
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