Nides Takes Helm At B-M

Thomas Nides has spent most of his career handling communications for financial institutions such as Credit Suisse First Boston, Fannie Mae and Morgan Stanley.

Now, the 43-year-old exec takes over as worldwide president and CEO of WPP Group’s Burson-Marsteller, a post he described as “a natural fit” given his background of handling communications for multinational companies.

Most recently global chief administrative officer at New York-based Credit Suisse, Nides assumes B-M’s top job from Christopher Komisarjevsky, who—after serving in the role for a decade—plans to retire at year’s end. The new hire reports to Ann Fudge, chairman and CEO of Y&R Brands (the PR firm’s parent), and oversees about 2,000 staffers worldwide.

Nides said B-M has had a “difficult” time for the past five years. (The company offered no specifics, but sales dipped about 33 percent from $300 million in 2001 to $175 million in 2002, per Hoover’s Online.) Still, he added that “it’s not a business that needs fixing,” noting that his biggest priorities will be solidifying relationships with existing clients as well as with the agency’s staff.

At Credit Suisse, Nides managed 2,000 employees and oversaw corporate communications, government relations, advertising, marketing, human resources and other administrative functions. Before Credit Suisse, Nides was an svp and member of the operating committee at Fannie Mae.

While his office is now in New York, the Duluth, Minn., native, who lives in Washington, said he will commute. Most of his time will be spent on the road anyway, he explained, as he will be visiting B-M’s offices in 55 countries. “It’s not an office job,” he said.

When not on the road, Nides devotes as much time as possible to activities with his wife, a producer at ABC News, and their children, a 6-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son.