Media Agency Vet Joins VNU

NEW YORK Jon Mandel, who has spent almost his entire career at media agencies, has joined Adweek parent VNU as chief executive of a newly formed business unit called NielsenConnect.

He will be based in New York and report to David Calhoun, chairman and CEO of VNU.

Most recently, Mandel was chief of strategic solutions at WPP Group’s Group M. Before that, he was instrumental in building Grey’s MediaCom in the U.S. After WPP acquired Grey in 2005, MediaCom was folded into Group M, which oversees all of the company’s media agencies, including Mediaedge:cia and MindShare.

VNU described NielsenConnect, the new unit, as one that would draw information from the dozens of VNU companies which collect, analyze and report on consumer patterns and usage around the world and provide that information in new and unique ways to clients.

“We are proud and delighted to welcome Jon to the VNU leadership team,” said Calhoun in a statement. “Jon’s knowledge, experience and enthusiasm are vital to our goal of taking this company to a whole new level of client service. His mission is to ‘follow the consumer.’ That means connecting all of the different information resources across VNU so our clients benefit from clear, actionable information they need to grow their businesses.”

“NielsenConnect is about looking forward and anticipating what’s coming next,” said Mandel. “It’s about connecting consumer information in ways that have never been attempted so our clients can spot trends and move more quickly to maximize their relationships with their customers.”

After stints at General Foods and Procter & Gamble, Mandel joined Grey in 1977 and helped start the network TV buying group at the agency. He rose to svp, director of national broadcast.

When MediaCom was formed, Mandel was named chief negotiating officer. Subsequent roles included co-managing director, co-CEO and chief global buying officer of MediaCom Worldwide, in addition to his role as chairman of MediaCom’s U.S. operations.

In a memo issued today to senior staff informing them of Mandel’s departure, Group M CEO Irwin Gotlieb said, “Jon’s recent contributions to Group M, and during his long tenure with MediaCom, cannot be overstated. He has served with a singular level of distinction and professionalism while making significant contributions to the company over these many years.”