Emily Tan
Nov 14, 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Asia a major focus for new McCann Boss Diamond

NEW YORK – Despite changes at the helm, business will continue “as expected” for McCann Worldgroup, according to its new CEO Harris Diamond in an exclusive phone interview with Campaign Asia-Pacific.

Harris Diamond
Harris Diamond


“Our real direction is one you would expect, to continue to take advantage of a great environment for marketing services and build upon one of the best client bases in the world, and frankly, some of the best talent in the world,” said Diamond.

As chairman and CEO, Diamond will be running McCann Worldgroup as head of a triumvirate along with Luca Linder president of Americas, and now, Middle East and Africa and Gustavo Martinez, president of Europe, and as of last night, Asia-Pacific. These three now form the ‘office of the chairman’ for the network.

“This gives me two people who I’m looking forward most to working with and, on a discipline basis, allows us to work together to drive the business forward,” said Diamond.

Charles Cadell, president of Asia-Pacific and Prasoon Joshi, president of South Asia, will continue to retain their titles but will report to Martinez, Diamond confirmed.

When Cadell and Joshi were first appointed to their current roles in January, it was announced that they would both report directly to former CEO, Nick Brien.

Nevertheless, Asia-Pacific is a major focus for Diamond, he assured. “I just got off the phone with Prasoon in India and we’re really excited about the work they’re doing there. I will be out visiting our folks in China in the next two weeks—there is tremendous opportunity there and we’re extremely well situated to take advantage of those opportunities.”

Diamond added that McCann’s clients were eager to see continued growth in Asia-Pacific and that the agency focused on building and driving the business forward in the region.

With a major reorganisation of top leadership in McCann, it’s expected that the network will undergo a period of cultural change.

When Nick Brien replaced John Dooner two years ago, he was deemed a “change agent” for McCann Worldgroup and hailed one of the few non-Americans to have helmed the network. A media-agency man, Brien had been overseeing IPG’s media agencies since 2008 and served as CEO and president of Universal McCann from 2005.  

In contrast, US-born Diamond has a strong background in public relations, serving as CEO of the Constituency Management Group (CMG) of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG). The group’s companies include FutureBrand, GolinHarris, Jack Morton Worldwide, Octagon and Weber Shandwick. Earlier in his career, Diamond, who is a member of the New York State Bar, served as a political campaign consultant, working on US gubernatorial and senatorial campaigns.

Diamond however declined to comment on this subject, citing the late hour in New York (midnight) and his brand-new appointment as reasons. He also refused to comment on any personal directives he may have received on his appointment from Michael I Roth, Interpublic’s chairman and CEO. 

“What folks will see is all of us bringing our resources to bear all our disciplines, (and for Asia-Pacific) the leadership of Prasoon and Charles, to the benefit of all our clients,” he said, also refusing to comment on any issue connected with Brien.

Update: McCann have confirmed with us that Gustavo Martinez will continue to be based in Milan. 

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