Townsend succeeds Greg Luckman, who is leaving the company for a senior post at CAA Sports, a unit of the Los Angeles-based talent firm Creative Artists Agency.
Previously, Townsend was executive vice president and general manager of ESP's North American operation. He will report to Rob Norman, CEO GroupM North America.
"We are fortunate to have an executive of Bryce's experience and standing in the community to take over for Greg at one of our company's fastest-growing units," stated Norman. "His experience and his vision will make for a seamless transition," at the shop. Prior to joining GroupM ESP, Townsend was vice president, account services, at Momentum Worldwide, Interpublic Group's global sports and entertainment marketing agency, where he was responsible for American Express' global partnership events portfolio.
During his eight-year tenure handling the Amex account, Townsend helped create some of the client's largest partnerships, including agreements with the NBA, US Open Tennis Championships, Tribeca Film Festival, USGA, NCAA, Australian Open, Wimbledon and Radio City Entertainment.