EssenceMediacom U.S. Shakeup: Jill Kelly Out, JiYoung Kim In

Long-time media agency exec Jill Kelly is out as U.S. CEO of GroupM's EssenceMediacom and has been replaced on an interim basis by JiYoung Kim, who earlier this month had been named COO of GroupM North America.

The news was first reported by late Tuesday, citing an internal GroupM memo it obtained, but a source familiar with the development says Kelly will continue to work with GroupM to "stand up synergy programs and best practices, helping us to better serve clients and strengthen our visibility in the market."

The move is the latest in a string of reorganizations and management restructurings of the GroupM unit in recent years.



GroupM formed EssenceMediacom less than two years ago by merging its disparate Essence and MediaCom units, and naming Mediacom Global CEO Nick Lawson to run the combined unit.

In August 2022, GroupM named Kelly U.S. CEO of EssenceMediacom from her previous post as GroupM global CMO.

In a related move, former MediaCom U.S. CEO Sasha Savic was named EssenceMediacom's global chief innovation officer.

Less than a year later, Savic left GroupM to become global CEO of IPG Mediabrands' UM unit, but left abruptly months later.

In January, GroupM parent WPP briefed investors and analysts on its implementation of a GroupM "simplification" plan and cited Sharb Farjami's appointment as North American CEO as part of it.

Farjami succeeded former GroupM North America CEO Kirk McDonald, who departed at the end of 2023.

Kelly has been a perpetual rising star within the media agency business. She began her career as a marketing manager at UM, held a series of communications and marketing roles at a variety of agencies (Starcom MediaVest Group, Digitas) before joining GroupM as U.S. CMO in 2019.

GroupM NA COO Kim reportedly is taking on the EssenceMediacom U.S. CEO role on an interim basis until a permanent successor can be named.


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