Publicis Consolidates Corporate Media Role, Names Jack Klues CEO

Publicis Groupe--the Paris-based parent of Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia Group--Wednesday did what many in the industry long expected it to do, and consolidated its two media networks under one corporate-level management structure, naming Jack Klues chairman of Publicis Groupe Media.

As a result, Klues, who had been CEO of SMG, will now oversee all of Publicis' media operations, including ZenithOptimedia.

The announcement makes official what has been growing internally for months, and follows a similar trend at other major agency holding companies such as Aegis, Interpublic, Omnicom, and WPP Group, which have all recently created corporate-level oversight of their disparate media organizations.

Concurrent with Klues' promotion, Publicis named Renetta McCann, CEO of SMG/The Americas, to succeed Klues as that media network's global CEO. McCann's old post will not be filled.

The restructuring of the Publicis media organization follows several transitions at ZenithOptimedia, including the departure last year of that network's CEO John Perriss, and the elevation of Steve King into that role, as well as the recent departure of ZenithOptimedia Americas CEO Rich Hamilton. Tim Jones was subsequently named CEO of ZenithOptimedia USA, a new position.



The moves are part of a growing recognition that the media services field has become dominated by a handful of global giants who must manage a burgeoning array of media service brands that both complement and compete with each other within their organizations.

Both WPP Group's Group M and Omnicom's Omnicom Media Group have well-established corporate media teams, and Interpublic and Aegis recently moved in similar directions. Interpublic tapped former MTV Networks executive Mark Rosenthal to head its corporate media unit earlier this year, and Rosenthal is expected to unveil a new structure for Interpublic's media services division, which currently includes FCB Media, Initiative Media, Magna Global, and Universal McCann.

Last week, Aegis tapped former Mediaedge:cia CEO Mainardo de Nardis to head Aegis Media--a unit that oversees the Carat, Vizeum, Isobar, and Posterscope media networks.

While Klues' ascension was long anticipated, the timing of the announcement is interesting, because Publicis also is believed to be developing specific corporate-level media operations--something that is still relatively unique on Madison Avenue, with the exception of Magna Global, a media negotiating unit that works on behalf of all the Interpublic agencies. Omnicom is believed to be rolling out a similar unit, dubbed Opera.

Several high-profile Publicis media executives have been making noise about the corporate media services' initiatives for months--especially Rishad Tobaccowala, the unit's highly regarded chief innovation officer, as well as Tim Hanlon, who has been brandishing the title of Publicis Media Ventures, a concept some have inferred Publicis will also introduce as a venture capital play into the media services field. A formal announcement of these new ventures is expected within months.

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