Phil Cowdell, North American Chairman at GroupM's Mindshare is leaving the company in March to become president of R2C Group, an independent direct response agency Group based in Portland.
Cowdell moved to chairman of Mindshare after serving as North American CEO of Mindshare for two-plus years until last summer, when the agency brought Antony Young, former CEO at Optimedia in to succeed him.
In his latest Mindshare role, Cowdell was charged with expanding Mindshare's North American business with multinational clients, such as Ford, Unilever and Pepsi. Cowdell, a 10-year Mindshare veteran, was named Mindshare’s North American CEO in May of 2009.
During Cowdell's term as CEO, Mindshare made a comeback on the client development front, winning more than $2 billion in new accounts, including U.S. assignments from Boehringer ($250 million) and Radio Shack ($140 million), as well as Unilever's Canadian account ($200 million).
In a memo to staffers, Young stated, “ I've got very mixed emotions with this news as he is a close friend, has been a key factor in this agency’s success and frankly was an important reason in my coming to the agency.”
Sources indicated Cowdell’s move was at least partly attributable to his wanting a different lifestyle and Young alluded to that in his memo: “I know that the opportunity to make a major life style and career shift that for him would give him much more needed time with his family is something he owes himself and [his wife] Cheryl.
Cowdell will officially leave the shop in three weeks.
GroupM declined to comment, referring calls to R2C.