Phil Cowdell, the chairman of Mindshare North America, is leaving to become president of R2C Group, a Portland, Ore., direct response group, sources said. An internal email noted that he'll make his move in three weeks.
Cowdell had been CEO, North America, at the GroupM media services network until last summer when he was replaced by Antony Young, chief executive of Optimedia in the U.S. At that time, Cowdell was named to the newly created role of chairman at Mindshare North America.
He earned recognition as Executive of the Year in Adweek’s 2010 Media All-Star selections, where he was cited for bringing in $2 billion in new client business.
Mindshare has no immediate plans to replace Cowdell, sources said.
Cowdell was named Mindshare CEO, North America, in May 2009, succeeding Scott Neslund, who left the company after serving a little more than two years in the job. At the time of his promotion, Cowdell had been one of Mindshare’s global client leaders, based in Chicago. Prior to that post, he led the media operation at Team Detroit, the WPP entity working for Ford. He was previously Mindshare's worldwide managing partner and global head of planning in London where he spent seven years and ran the global Unilever business. Before then, he ran the Procter & Gamble account at Starcom MediaVest Group in London where he had oversight of SMG’s local planning and buying assignments across the EMEA region.
In the internal email, Mindshare North America CEO Young described Cowdel as “a close friend” who was a “key factor in this agency’s success and frankly was an important reason in my coming to the agency.”
R2C, with offices in Portland, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Billings, Mont., works for clients including Consumer Cellular, Adobe, bareMinerals, Nordic Track, Shark and TiVo.
Mindshare referred calls to R2C Group, where executives could not be reached. Cowdell did not return a call for comment.