Kirk McDonald Joins @GroupMWorldwide

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Kirk McDonald has joined GroupM, WPP’s media investment group, as North America (NA) CEO, effective September 15, 2020.

He joins GroupM from WarnerMedia’s Xandr where he most recently served as Chief Business Officer in charge of the go to market functions including sales, communications, product marketing and marketing strategy/execution (he previously held the role of Chief Marketing Officer for nearly two years).

Ebony Magazine named him to its Power 100 list in 2018 and, in 2015, he was listed on Adweek’s list of ’50 List of Vital Leaders in Tech, Media and Marketing’. Before AT&T, Kirk McDonald was President of PubMatic, the marketing automation software company, and also held roles with Time Inc., Fortune| Money Group and CNET Networks, among others.

We are told that he will serve on GroupM’s Global Leadership Team, and will lead GroupM’s operations in the region where Global CEO Christian Juhl had been dually operating on an interim basis since November, 2019.

In this new role he will be responsible for strategy and operations in the world’s largest region across GroupM’s brands, including Mindshare, MediaCom, Wavemaker, Essence, m/Six and Xaxis. GroupM NA manages USD 17.6 billion in media investment billings across the U.S. and Canada, with a 22% market share and approximately 6,500 colleagues (COMvergence, 2019). He will be a champion of GroupM’s strategy to work with agency and GroupM leadership in the region, using its scale to provide more powerful and effective solutions for clients through the development of technology-enabled services.

Christian Juhl, GroupM Global CEO told us “Kirk brings a unique view of the market in that he has experience in media, technology and marketing. We were looking for someone who had both the right experience in media and the capability to lead the region through transformational change. Not only did Kirk demonstrate he has both, but his vision for making advertising work better for people aligned perfectly with ours. His outstanding reputation in the industry put him at the top of our list. Additionally, he has worked in complex organizations, so he understands the dynamics at play in a media holding group.”

Kirk McDonald brings a wealth of industry experience to the role, with over 25 years working with the world’s leading brands, media companies and technology providers. He is particularly passionate about helping GroupM lead the way in driving real change across the industry to make advertising less interruptive and a valued part of the media experience.

He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Elanco (NYSE: ELAN), and is a member of the prestigious Executive Leadership Council. He also serves on several other professional and not-for-profit boards including the Ad Council, Advertising Week Advisory Council, and is the co-chair of MOUSE/CI. Based in New York, Kirk and his family reside in North Stamford, C.T.

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