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Dentsu underwent a series of organizational changes last year, while one of its media agencies, Dentsu X, enjoyed several client wins. Heineken, Santander, Insmed, JCPenney, Scenic Cruises and The Aspen Group joined the agency’s fold. Now, as Dentsu X further develops its structure and strategy, its former chief media officer Leah Meranus will become its CEO in North America.
As the agency’s new leader, Meranus plans to expand its presence in the North American market, including in the U.S. and in Canada. She will report to Doug Rozen, who leads Dentsu Media in the Americas. While it conducts a search for a new chief media officer, the agency has promoted U.S.-based Scott Daly, previously evp, managing director for Dentsu X U.S., to a newly created chief client officer position.
Meranus will lead in the U.S. and Canada
With Meranus in charge of both the U.S. and Canadian geographies, Dentsu X clients can expect a more cohesive and efficient working experience, Rozen and Meranus told Adweek. Meranus overseeing both markets eliminates any need to collapse Dentsu X’s business into a single North American model. Rozen cited the Canadian advertising ecosystem’s unique characteristics as one reason the agency prefers to maintain two distinct operations.
“What you’re starting to see is the ability to drive leadership across geographies, and breaking down, I think, some of the silos that have existed in our industry around geographies,” Rozen told Adweek. Sarah Thompson, president of Dentsu Media Canada, will partner closely with Meranus to manage the Canadian market.
Building recognition in the Canadian market is part of Dentsu X’s transformation strategy. While a holding-companywide restructuring left Dentsu Media more or less unaffected, last year Dentsu X absorbed creative sister agency 360i’s media practice. Despite this, the agency remained structurally sound and Dentsu X U.S. held its position, for the fourth year in a row, as RECMA’s fastest-growing media agency. Now, nearly a year after taking on the 360i business, Meranus told Adweek the agency is ready to tell its story and spotlight its work.
“Sometimes change leads to diversion of focus. We didn’t want that to happen to Dentsu X because we had such a beautiful brand to work with globally, and such a great portfolio of clients from the 360i side,” Meranus told Adweek.
While many Dentsu X clients lean into performance media, the agency excels at bringing brand and demand together. “Any successful agency today needs to harness digital but do it in their in their way,” said Rozen. Dentsu X focuses on equal parts art and science, and “knowing when to play what,” he added.
Establishing what makes Dentsu X unique, while ensuring it remains integrated with the broader Dentsu Media organization, will be one of Meranus’ core functions in the new role and one her prior role prepared her to do.
“My remit in the last couple of years was to make sure the teams came together seamlessly to make sure there were no hiccups in business delivery—to make sure that we were integrating into the Dentsu service line,” she told Adweek.