Kelly Clark, CEO GroupM North America, is stepping down. He was seen by some as a candidate to succeed Irwin Gotlieb someday as GroupM Global CEO.
Clark, who was previously CEO of GroupM media agency Maxus, ascended to the GroupM NA CEO spot in 2012. He succeeded Rob Norman who was named to the then new post of chief digital officer GroupM Global.
GroupM confirmed that Clark was stepping down from the CEO post and would then take on an advisory role to the company. The precise timing of the transition is unclear but it will take several months. No word yet on a replacement.
Gotlieb issued this statement:
"Kelly will be transitioning to a new role with GroupM which stems from a personal decision about what he wanted for his life and career. Kelly is a great partner who has made tremendous contributions to the company; we are glad to have his continued involvement in a new capacity. Additional information about succession will be shared in due course. In the interim, it’s business as usual with Kelly continuing to perform his current duties. We have strong leadership at GroupM and within our agencies, and this transition will be seamless for our clients and partners."
In a note to staff, Kelly indicated that the company was “reviewing the structure of GroupM in the U.S. and Canada,” while at the same time he has “made a personal decision to spend more time with my family.”
Kelly said he had been discussing a change in his role since the summer with GroupM Global President Dominic Proctor. For at least the next six months, he said, “it’s business as usual.” In his new role, he added “I will remain very connected to the business, helping with key clients and business units.”
Before joining Maxus, Clark was CEO of GroupM’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) from 2005-2008. Based in London, he was responsible for overseeing more than $26 billion in client billings and 6,000 employees in addition to developing and implementing overall group strategy for media trading and content development, new business, staff development, acquisitions and joint ventures.
He assumed that role after serving for three years as CEO of Mindshare UK, also part of GroupM. During this time, Mindshare UK nearly doubled in size, rising from sixth-place to become the second largest agency in the market.
Clark started his career with WPP’s JWT New York, where he held a number of media management positions.