Zenith Names King CEO

NEW YORK Steve King, chief executive officer of Zenith Optimedia EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa), was appointed CEO of Zenith Optimedia Group, the company said on Thursday.

King, who has spent most of his career at Zenith Optimedia and its predecessor companies, succeeds the Publicis Group-owned company’s longtime CEO, John Perriss.

King began his career on the media side, working at HTV, before moving to Bates Dorland in 1982. After two years, he joined McCormicks, now known as Publicis, to head up buying on Renault. After a year he returned to Bates Dorland as media group manager for clients like H.J. Heinz, British Telecom and Rover. With the inception of Zenith Media in the UK, in which Bates Dorland was a contributing agency, King was appointed director of TV buying, in charge of the largest TV group of its kind in Europe. He was made deputy managing director in 1992 and managing director in 1993.

King moved to the US in 1994, initially to evaluate the feasibility of Zenith Media in the states. With the start of Zenith USA in 1995, he became chief operating officer. He became CEO, Zenith Media, Europe, Middle East and Africa, in 1997. Following the formation of ZenithOptimedia in October, 2001, he was named CEO, Zenith Optimedia EMEA.

“Steve is the ideal choice to take over from John,” Publicis Groupe COO Roger Haupt said in a statement. “A founding employee of Zenith Media when it made history in 1998, Steve has more than 20 years’ experience in the provision of media services.”

In voicing his support of King, Perriss also praised the rest of Zenith Optimedia’s senior management group who presumably were among contenders for the top job. “We have got a fantastic team in place which helped me to come to my decision to leave. Along with Rich Hamilton (CEO of the Americas) and Adrian Sayliss (global CFO) Steve has been part of the global executive team, which has been the key driver of our success. Nobody knows our business better than Steve, and I have complete confidence in his ability to take the business forward,” Perriss said in a statement.