Alison Weissbrot
Sep 21, 2023

GroupM sunsets Xaxis, Sightline and Finecast brands as Nexus reorganises

EXCLUSIVE: Nicola Lewis is elevated to global chief solutions officer in a new structure that aims to make Nexus and its performance solutions easier for clients to access.

GroupM sunsets Xaxis, Sightline and Finecast brands as Nexus reorganises

GroupM is restructuring its global performance marketing division, Nexus, in an effort to simplify its offerings and brand architecture for clients.

Launched in April 2022, Nexus consists of about 11,000 experts across digital specialty practices such as social media and search. It also houses performance media solutions Xaxis, Finecast and Sightline. 

The group, which supports client-facing GroupM agencies Mindshare, EssenceMediacom and Wavemaker, will now operate in two groups: expert practices and media solutions. 

The expert practices team consists of specialists and consultants across search, social, programmatic, ad ops, addressable content and more. They are responsible for defining excellence and maintaining GroupM standards and practices across its agencies, as well as providing thought leadership and staying on the cutting edge of trends and technologies. 

The media solutions team will integrate GroupM’s opt-in media products, including trading desk Xaxis, addressable TV group Finecast and digital out-of-home specialist Sightline, under one roof. 

Each brand will sunset in January 2024 and operate as GroupM Nexus Media Solutions under the leadership of Nicola Lewis, formerly global CEO of Finecast, who is promoted to global chief solutions officer, GroupM Nexus.

(L to R) Nicolas Bidon and Nicola Lewis. (Photo credit: GroupM, used with permission)

In addition, Ryan Storrar, formerly UK CEO UK and global chief media solutions officer at EssenceMediacom, will lead GroupM Nexus in EMEA and the UK. Claire Chapman will move into the role of CEO at EssenceMediacomX in the UK, rejoining GroupM after two years. 

According to GroupM Nexus global CEO Nicolas Bidon, the new structure breaks down silos that allows its consultants, experts and media practitioners to work better together for clients in a cross-channel fashion and inform each other of what they’re learning. 

“We’ve seen over the last 18 months, we’re at our best when we can really connect all of the dots for our clients,” he said. “That could be across different channels — how can I do something in search that improves the results I get on social? — but also connecting our solutions business and practice business. [For instance], how can I bring the strength of Finecast into a total TV planning approach?”

“It allows us to transcend that through the entirety of the organization,” Lewis added. 

Bidon pointed to the company’s recent partnership with Jounce Media to combat Made for Advertising websites as a good example of how the media solutions and expert practices teams will work more easily together to create scalable standards and solutions to be adopted by GroupM’s agencies. 

“We’ll continue to see the expert practices, in this case the programmatic practice, taking the lead on making these guidelines and partnerships,” Bidon said. “And then we’ll make sure that every person that activates campaigns programmatically, and every solution built on top of a programmatic architecture, is leveraging that same agreement, best practice, etc.”

Eliminating the Xaxis, Finecast and Sightline brands is another move toward clarity and simplification. GroupM’s internal agency brands had gotten confusing for clients, who weren’t clear on how they could access specific services available to them. As Bidon put it, “clients don’t really care about [internal] agency brands.” 

“That’s what they keep telling us: I want the best of GroupM. If it sits in Finecast, or Mindshare or GroupM, I don’t care. I want your best talent.”

The new structure is in service of GroupM global CEO Christian Juhl’s vision to have Nexus be “the largest and best performance media capability to power growth for our agencies and our clients,” Bidon said. It follows on the heels of another organizational shift in August that brought Nexus’ product and engineering teams under GroupM data company Choreograph. 

Nexus exists to support GroupM’s agencies and ensure they aren’t reinventing the wheel when creating new standards, technology solutions and platforms and are adhering to best practices, particularly for global clients. A majority of GroupM Nexus staffers are embedded on client teams at the agencies. 

“It enables us a scalable, repeatable approach so we can respond quickly to our clients’ needs and the industry as a whole, all through software and technology,” Lewis said.

According to Bidon, Nexus has experienced “double-digit growth” this year, but he declined to break out exact figures. He added headcount has grown from about 9,000 to 11,000 since its launch 18 months ago. 

“We’re doing this from a position of strength. It’s to accelerate momentum,” he said.

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