Nancy Mullahy, the former North American CEO at WPP’s Neo@Ogilvy, has joined MDC Partners media shop IMS as its new CEO. She succeeds Bob Ingram, one of the founders of the 10-year-old IMS, in which MDC bought control in 2010. Ingram recently left the agency.
With its focus on direct-response, search and other performance marketing platforms, Mullahy should be a good a fit with the agency, said Steve Farella, CEO of Maxxcom, the media oversight arm at MDC.
“We spent a lot of time interviewing different people and many folks wanted this job,” said Farella. “She was the last candidate in the search because after I met Nancy, we stopped it.”
MDC CEO Miles Nadal called Mullahy's expertise "a great asset in helping Maxxcom drive tangible measurable
financial returns for clients."
Mullahy has a long track record in performance marketing management. Before running Neo@Ogilvy’s North American operation, she spent more than 15 years at Starcom MediaVest Group, the last three as the founding president of the shop’s performance marketing operation, which combined SMG Search, Halogen (a direct competitor of IMS) and SMG Directory Marketing.
Mullahy left Neo earlier this year with plans to become an independent consultant. But after talking to Farella about the IMS job and MDC’s plans for it, she put the consultancy on hold.
“I’ve been deeply engrossed in performance marketing for the last five years,” Mullahy said. “And the more I talked to Steve and realized what IMS was all about, I began to think there was a tremendous opportunity” to expand the agency’s offering with video at the core of its performance marketing practice.
“TV used to be all about the audience,” she said. “Now there’s a chance for an audience and also a chance to drive audience action” with online, phone and tablet video extensions, she said. “We can have a lot of fun in terms of looking at business returns based on video management, and all the channels that can help with that kind of conversion off of video.”
Mullahy is the second senior executive hire that Farella has made in as many weeks.
Last week, Maxxcom hired Dene Callas, the former North American CEO of MediaCom, as managing director of Maxxcom Global Media. Her remit is to build the group’s offering and resources and also work with MDC agencies as they integrate the growing array of holding company media assets into their individual agency offerings.
IMS said Farella has a “great opportunity to grow by providing direct marketing and other data-based marketing services to other Maxxcom clients.” On the flip side, IMS sibling agencies, like Varick Media Management, have tools that can potentially strengthen IMS’ service offering, Mullahy said.