BOSTON Top-level personnel changes at Aegis Group continued with Jerry Buhlmann today appointed CEO of Aegis Media, the company's main communications arm. He will also join the company's board of directors.
Buhlmann, 48, is a 25-year industry veteran who has been chief executive of Aegis' European, Middle Eastern and African operations since 2003, overseeing activities in 32 markets and revenue of close to $1 billion. From 2000-03, he served as president of Aegis' Carat International.
In a statement, Buhlmann said: My priorities will be to maintain our record of market-leading growth through continuing expansion in digital and emerging markets, efficient operations, extending our client relationships and ensuring we continue to have the most competitive offer in our market."
He succeeds Mainardo de Nardis, who served as CEO for two years. De Nardis is leaving the company. Aegis did not elaborate on his impending departure. De Nardis arrived from WPP Group's Mediaedge:cia, where he also led global operations.
Robert Lerwill, CEO of parent Aegis Group, praised both Buhlmann and de Nardis, thanking the latter "for all he has done during his time at the helm," and crediting Buhlmann with "overseeing double-digit revenue growth and [the] improvement in operating margins each year" at EMEA. Lerwill also credited Buhlmann with bringing in major business from General Motors, Johnson & Johnson and Mattel in the past 18 months.
Buhlmann's arrival follows the departure two weeks ago of Aegis Americas CEO David Verklin, succeeded in North America by Sarah Fay, who had previously been CEO of Carat and i-shop Isobar in the U.S. (Buhlmann takes over Verklin's Latin American duties.)
London-based Aegis has for several years been the target of French financier and Havas chairman Vincent Bollore, who -- as Aegis' largest single shareholder -- has tried four times to gain Aegis board representation. He will make a fifth attempt on May 23 at Aegis' annual meeting in London, seeking seats for two of his associates. Bollore wishes to forge ties between Havas' MPG media agency network and Aegis' media operations.