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GroupM names Brian Lesser as CEO, North America

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MUMBAI: WPP's GroupM has appointed Brian Lesser as CEO for business in the US and Canada.

Lesser was previously Xaxis global CEO. He succeeds Kelly Clark, who will be transitioning to a new advisory role focused on strategic initiatives with clients and specialty businesses over the coming months.

With this, Brian Gleason will succeed Lesser as Xaxis global CEO.

In concert with these changes, GroupM global chief digital officer Rob Norman adds the position of chairman, North America to his responsibilities.

The new roles for the two executives reflect GroupM's certainty that the future of media-driven marketing is inextricably tied to data and technology. Key investments and partnerships over the past several years that support this positioning include WPP's investments in comScore and AppNexus; GroupM's and Kantar Media's partnership with Rentrak; more recent alliances with BuzzFeed and Networked Insights; introduction of the industry's first data management platform and first programmatic audience platform; introduction of Modi Media, the first fully-formed advanced TV specialty business delivering addressable TV ads at scale; and numerous progressive positions on digital ad viewability and measurement that are focused on raising the bar for effectiveness and trading currency.

While driving advancement in North America, Lesser and Norman also each continue serving on GroupM's global executive committee, led by GroupM global president Dominic Proctor and global chairman Irwin Gotlieb.

"Brian will be a huge part of our future and his appointment reflects our values and ambition, as well as WPP's drive to achieve 40-45% of revenues from digital in five years. Our future is being built on tech, data, talent and scale.  Brian absolutely gets that and is perfectly suited to help us shape that future to best serve advertisers.  We're very fortunate to have him leading our business in the world's biggest market," said Proctor.

"GroupM has continuously evolved with clients through major shifts in the media landscape and consumer behavior with data and technology having always been part of the value proposition. GroupM has challenged convention and forced dialogue on important issues to help clients be more successful. I'm humbled and grateful to have an opportunity to help continue this legacy at this time when complexity is more profound than ever," added Lesser.

"This is an exciting time for our company. We have many successes to count and new marketplace challenges to conquer, but above all, we have the strength of our agency brands, our specialist enterprises and our increasing differentiation in the management and application of data that leave us exceptionally well-positioned for the future. I’m energized by the road ahead and excited to work with Brian and our colleagues on the executive committee for the next chapter," said Norman.

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