ZenithOptimedia's Hamilton Takes Leave, Jones Promoted to U.S. Chief

In a surprise move, Publicis' ZenithOptimedia Group Tuesday announced that Rich Hamilton has taken a leave of absence as the top executive of the media agency's North American and South American operations. In the announcement, Zenith did not disclose why Hamilton, CEO of ZenithOptimedia Americas, was taking leave, but attributed it to "personal reasons." At the same time, it announced what it described as "a number of well-deserved promotions," most notably the elevation of Tim Jones to head of the media network's U.S. operations.

The moves comes as parent Publicis begins formalizing the structure of its new Publicis Groupe Media unit, a corporate-level entity that now oversees ZenithOptimedia Group and Starcom MediaVest. The new corporate media unit has begun moving bodies around and creating new corporate-level roles that will oversee some operations of both networks. For example, Rishad Tobaccowala, chief innovation officer at Publicis Groupe Media, revealed at a conference earlier this year that the unit now oversees all new media investments for both ZenithOptimedia and Starcom MediaVest.



Jones, who has been a member of the ZenithOptimedia team since 1985, and how is known to be close to Worldwide CEO Steve King, was named CEO of ZenithOptimedia USA, a new position reporting directly to King. He was the agency's chief strategy officer.

In what appears to be a realignment of the network's regional reporting structure, ZenithOptimedia said Sunni Boot, CEO of ZenithOptimedia's Latin American operations, would report directly to King, at least on a temporary basis.

Other promotions included Wendy Marquardt's move to COO; and Peggy Green's elevation to president-broadcast and entertainment at Zenith Media USA. Both report to Jones, along with the rest of the U.S. management team.

Mike Drexler continues as CEO Optimedia USA.

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