Aegis Appointment of Media Chief Raises Key Questions

25 October 2005

The appointment by Aegis Group of a new chief executive for its Aegis Media unit - Mainardo de Nardis, currently ceo of WPP Group's Mediaedge:cia - begs two significant questions.

Given that: (a) de Nardis is currently the sitting tenant in one of the best media jobs around; and (b) the future of Aegis is highly unpredicatable in the face of takeover rumours involving WPP, and ongoing stakebuilding by Havas chairman Vincent Bolloré (hiked again over the weekend to 20.13%), the two questions are ...

What assurances has de Nardis been given about his security of tenure at Aegis? And by whom?

The handful of players who know the answers aren't in communicative mode. Creating yet more speculation. Certainly, Aegis Group ceo Robert Lerwill's collection of welcoming clichés gave nothing away.

"Changes in technology and lifestyles are putting media at the heart of customer communications. The principal Aegis Media brands are well placed and focused. They are outgrowing their markets and Mainardo will be leading the strong management team already in place.

"He brings a wealth of experience to us in the international media buying and planning arena and his appointment reflects well on Aegis Media."

De Nardis too was in mutual backscratching mode - and even less informative: "I've watched Aegis Media keenly for many years now. And I've constantly been struck by the determination, entrepreneurship and creativity I see there," he effused.

In the current welter of speculation, only two things are certain. De Nardis is no fool. Nor will he have moved Aegis-ward without a sackful of copper-bottomed guarantees.

Just for fun, let's add to the frenzy of hypotheses by asking one more question: Which of the current maybe-bidders would benefit most from having its man already installed in Aegis's media driving seat?

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff