Omnicom Names AMV’s Mead to Lead New European Operation

31 July 2003

Peter Mead, founding partner of the UK’s top-billing agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO – and a living rebuttal of the axiom that nice guys finish last – was named by Omnicom Group Tuesday to head its new Omnicom Europe unit.

Mead, Omnicom’s London-based vice-chairman, will remain in situ with a brief to optimise pan-European business development, logistics support, property management and procurement.

Convened at Mead’s round table will be senior executives from Omnicom’s European agency networks, among them TBWA, BBDO and DDB. Other acolytes will include honchos from media networks PHD and OMD, while at his right hand sits Omnicom chief financial officer Randall Weisenburger.

The aim of the new unit is to emulate the success enjoyed stateside by Omnicom’s Diversified Agency Services operation, which evangelizes the group’s PR and below-the-line services to existing clients.

Trumpets Omnicom ceo John Wren: “Our new structure will allow us to focus even more effectively on our European operations. Peter Mead, as vice-chairman of Omnicom Group, is the natural leader of this initiative. We share a common philosophy on deepening our relationships with our clients and providing our employees with the tools and programmes they need to be most effective.”

• Coincident with the announcement of the new unit, Omnicom also revealed it had acquired international online shop, main clients British Airways, Deutsche Bank, Nike, Sprint and Texaco. The purchase from holding company Seneca Investments illustrates the quasi-incestuous relationship between buyer and seller.

Seneca, a shell company jointly owned by Omnicom with private equity firm Pegasus Capital LLP, was formed in 2001 as a holding device into which Omnicom funnelled its sixteen online agencies - including Most if not all of which were haemorrhaging cash.

The Wall Street Journal speculated at the time that the deal might be a stratagem to remove from Omnicom’s balance sheet write-offs in respect of losses on internet investments. This was denied by Omnicom and subsequently cleared by its auditor, KPMG. is the second online shop bought back by Omnicom since the controversial deal was struck.

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