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McCann Names London Exec Macdonald as N.Y. Head

Summy moves to MRM

Chris Macdonald

McCann Erickson N.Y. has a new president. Chris Macdonald, the chief executive of the agency’s London office, is moving to the states to take on a role that had been assumed by Hank Summy, McCann North America.

Summy is moving over to corporate sibling MRM Worldwide in the new role of president, commerce at the digital and direct company.

The changes are among the first top executive moves made within McCann Worldgroup by new CEO Harris Diamond, who took on that role last November. Among others: Michael Mclaren, president, MRM East & global client solutions director was named president at MRM while Andy Jacobs, chief technology officer at the company, is adding additional global responsibility.

At McCann London, Macdonald will be replaced by the Wieden + Kennedy creative team of Rob Doubal and Laurence Thomson who joined the agency last May as co-executive creative directors. They will now take on the roles of co-presidents and chief creative officers.

A top priority for PR executive Diamond, who previously oversaw Interpublic’s CMG unit, is forging greater collaboration between the various disciplines within Worldgroup. While he is said to have looked at external candidates for the top job at McCann Erickson’s NY flagship, he was impressed by Macdonald’s understanding of and working relationships with other Worldgroup units, the most recent of which was on display with the agency’s involvement in handling the London summer Olympic games. Macdonald, who has been with McCann for eight years, also carried the title of Worldgroup chairman in London and sits on its board.

“Chris has spent eight years at McCann in one of our most significant offices and has shown a great appreciation of creative work,” Diamond told Adweek. “He also has a great understanding of Worldgroup because of the complexity of the London market which involves a lot of different disciplines. He’s been one of our more senior people involved with all of our Worldgroup disciplines.”

In the 20 weeks since he took on his new role, Diamond has made Worldgroup clients his No. 1 priority, spending virtually all of time in solidifying those relationships, which had become an issue under the tenure of past Worldgroup chief Nick Brien.

After a three-year, new-business dryspell at McCann Erickson, the agency has picked up momentum in the last six months: In November, McCann won Joe’s Crab Shack and has just added responsibility for other chains belonging to the restaurant’s parent, Ignite: Romano's Macaroni Grill, where McCann will handle creative and Brick House Tavern and Tap, with the agency overseeing strategy. McCann also consolidated its position as the sole Chevrolet agency at General Motors; won creative duties for the U.S. Postal Service in conjunction with MRM; and added trade lobbying group, American Frozen Food Institute. 

“This is a straight-forward business,” said Diamond, a longtime Interpublic executive. “If you can come up with great ideas and make an impact on your clients’ business you’ll do well. I think we’re poised for great growth in the U.S.”

There will be no direct replacement for Summy in McCann Erickson’s lead North America role now that Luca Lindner has moved to New York and has taken on those duties with clients and operating units. Last July, Lindner, who was previously president Worldgroup Latin America, Middle East and Africa, was named president of the Americas.

In his new MRM job, Summy, who was hired by former Worldgroup CEO Brien from SapientNitro in 2011, is tasked with helping CTO Jacobs build out the unit’s technology. Summy, who had been head of the digital company's N.Y. office, had never worked in a traditional ad agency before.

New head of McCann NY, Macdonald, joined the agency’s London office in 2005 as client services director and was promoted to managing director a year later, having led the agency’s Intel European business, MasterCard UK and American Airlines accounts. After being named CEO in 2008, the agency had a good new business run, with the most recent account additions including General Mills’ Nature Valley and was appointed to the UK government’s marketing communications roster.

In his most recent role at MRM, Mclaren, who has worked at Worldgroup for more than a decade, has had oversight for operations across New York, Princeton and Detroit and also served as global client solutions director across many of MRM’s key clients.

In addition to his responsibilities as MRM CTO, Jacobs leads the agency’s global partnerships, with a specific focus across MRM’s top 10 global clients.

Worldgroup’s Momentum Worldwide also recently expanded its top management ranks by naming Kevin McNulty, chief marketing officer, to the newly-created position of president, international.

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