Interpublic Group, the world's third largest agency holding company, on Friday appointed Nick Brien as global ceo/president of its Universal McCann media planning and buying network.

Brien, a UK national, takes the UMcC helm as the agency emerges from a stormy passage during which its largest client, General Motors, sought a safer haven with Publicis Groupe's Planworks.

Other client defectors over the preceding year, during which UMcC lost over $400 million in US business alone, include Nestlé and Coca-Cola.

In March former UMcC ceo Robin Kent was thrown overboard by IPG and the tiller handed on an interim basis to chief operating officer Murray Dudgeon.

The hiring of Brien is the first major appointment made by IPG's recently installed chief media honcho Mark Rosenthal, who joined IPG from the shark-strewn waters of Viacom's MTV Network.

Eulogizes Rosenthal of his choice: "Nick Brien is more than just a top-tier international media executive. He brings a unique breadth of experience, having also led an ad agency and a multi-disciplinary marketing services firm. He's known as a passionate client partner who understands the big picture and the growing need to build brands with fully-integrated media solutions."

The paean was taken up by McCann Worldgroup chairman/ceo, John Dooner: "[Nick is] absolutely the right person to lead Universal McCann forward as part of the next generation media offering Mark Rosenthal is creating."

Brien, who has been juggling the balls of media for twenty-three years, started his career in London with Grey Global in 1982, moving up the greasy pole via Leo Burnett and, most recently, Starcom MediaVest Group where he was president of corporate business development.

Data sourced from AdWeek (USA); additional content by WARC staff