Assembly Reassembles Investment Team, Warburton Succeeds Knobloch

Just two months after formally launching, MDC Partners’ Assembly is restructuring its top media-buying role, naming veteran buyer -- and seller -- Catherine Warburton Chief Investment Officer. She succeeds Peter Knobloch, the long-time media chief of MDC Partners’ R.J. Palmer unit, which was merged with Targetcast in March to form Assembly.

Warburton, a long-time senior media-buying executive at Interpublic’s UM and at Carat before that, joins Assembly from Fox Sports Media Group, where she has been vice president of business development, and had no plans to jump back to the “buy-side” until she was approached by Assembly CEO Martin Cass for the job.

“When we learned Peter was retiring, we started looking around for someone to replace him,” said Cass, adding that he already knew and admired Warburton, but says it was some data that solidified her candidacy.

“When we asked people, ‘If you were running an agency, who would you want to be be your Chief Investment Officer,’ 85% said this lady,” he said pointing to Warburton during an interview late last week at Assembly’s headquarters in New York.

For her part, Warburton said she was happy on the sell-side, but was attracted by the opportunity to work with Cass and by the opportunity to help develop a new kind of media services agency.

The agency, which already won a new piece of business -- Timberland -- based on its philosophy of putting data and technology at the core of its planning and buying processes, says the goal is to truly reinvent the media services model.

The first phase of building that organization was integrating two disparate cultures of Palmer, and best-in-class media buying shop, with Targetcast’s expertise in planning, strategy and digital media. The next phase, he says, is putting the right team in place to manage it.

“We see this as an opportunity to create something that can really affect change in this business, because we are bringing two companies together rather than just starting with giant legacy departments and trying to bring them together,” Cass explained.
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