He didn’t stay away for long. Kelly Clark was North American CEO for WPP’s GroupM from 2012 to 2015, when he left, reportedly to spend more time with his family. Now he is back -- this time as global CEO of the WPP media management arm.
The role was previously unfilled, and Irwin Gotlieb remains global chairman of the unit while Dominic Proctor -- who has been global president -- is stepping down from that role but will remain with WPP to work on undisclosed strategic projects, according to the company.
Prior to the NA CEO role, Clark was the worldwide CEO for Maxus between 2008 and 2012. He served as GroupM’s CEO for Europe from 2005 to 2008, and earlier he held CEO roles with Mindshare in the UK and in Asia-Pacific.
Clark began his WPP career at J. Walter Thompson New York in 1988.
“Kelly has demonstrated inspiring leadership at every turn in his career, and he has earned the respect of our clients and our people,” stated Gotlieb. “He has broad experience in North America, Asia and Europe and is focused intensely on delivering advantage to our clients. I am looking forward to working with him to build on our momentum.”
The move follows last week’s news that GroupM is in the midst of a management reorganization that will result in shifting responsibilities for a number of executives at the firm. At the time sources disclosed that among those executives is Chief Investment Officer Rino Scanzoni, who will take on other challenges at the organization.
Proctor launched Mindshare around the world beginning in 1997, and was named President of GroupM in 2012. “Dominic helped make Mindshare and GroupM the successful global businesses they are today. It has been a great pleasure to work side by side with Dominic over many years and we all wish him the very best,” said Gotlieb.
Added Clark: “GroupM is in a great position to help our clients win in an incredibly competitive marketplace. Our investments in data, technology and most importantly, our talented people will help us achieve that ambition. It will require a lot of change and a united focus, so I can’t wait to get started with Irwin and our leadership team.”