Anita Davis
Jan 21, 2010

Brien to replace Dooner as McCann Worldgroup head

GLOBAL - Worldwide CEO of Mediabrands Nick Brien (pictured) has been appointed CEO of McCann Worldgroup, succeeding John Dooner, Jr., who will assume the role of executive chairman until the end of the year to facilitate the transition.

Brien to replace Dooner as McCann Worldgroup head
The appointment, expected to be announced globally today, ends speculation of who will lead the Interpublic Group network. The move will be effective 1 April and comes three years after Dooner first floated his intentions to leave the company by 2010.

“I am delighted to announce that effective April 1, 2010, my succession plan will be complete and Nick Brien will become the new CEO of McCann Worldgroup,” Dooner said in an internal statement. “The process leading up to this decision was a thorough one, undertaken in collaboration with IPG, and we are in full agreement that we have made the best decision for the future of our company.”  

Dooner, 61, has held the post since February 2003. For two years prior, Dooner served as chairman and CEO of Interpublic, but returned to McCann Worldgroup following criticism of the company’s finances and his ability to lead the holding group.

Dooner joined McCann Worldgroup 25 years ago as a worldwide account director.

Brien has led IPG’s media agencies since 2008, overseeing the operations of Universal McCann, Initiative, Magna Global and Mediabrands. He served as CEO and president of Universal McCann from 2005 and has additionally headed up creative agency Leo Burnett in London and ran Starcom’s corporate business development arm in the US.

Representatives from IPG could not comment on Brien’s replacement at Mediabrands.

In his new role, Brien will be expected to help McCann win new clients after a stretch that saw the network lose business from the likes of Microsoft, Pfizer and Hewlett Packard. Moderinising the network is also said to be a priority, which Brien reinforced in an interview with MediaTV.

"Nick's a good guy. He's garnered a reputation as a turn-around specialist and he's certainly done that with Universal McCann," said a source at McCann Asia-Pacific. "He's strong on vision and he has a personality that gets things done. He's a big fan of this region and I'd anticipate him taking a keen interest in developments here."

Within the region, sources close to McCann Worldgroup suggest Brien’s appointment will further shake up management. In the past year, the network has already seen McCann Worldgroup's Asia-Pacific president and CEO Kevin Ramsey depart, replaced by Michael McLaren.

According to sources, IPG places high stakes on McCann Worldgroup’s success. A Wall Street Journal report cites unnamed sources who say that McCann's roughly US$2.5 billion in revenue in 2008 accounted for more than a third of Interpublic's total.

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