MEC Hires New U.S. CEO Away From Starcom Ahead of Maxus Merger

Amanda Richman starts in October

She effectively replaces former MEC North American CEO Marla Kaplowitz.

MEC has hired its new U.S. chief executive officer away from competitor Starcom as the WPP-owned media agency prepares to merge with Maxus.

Amanda Richman will start in October. Her hiring follows the June announcement of the merger, which will create an as-yet-unnamed entity within the larger GroupM network. Richman will report directly to MEC global CEO Tim Castree, who was named to that position last November following the resignation of Charles Courtier.

“Amanda is a fantastic choice to be our U.S. leader; her 20-plus years of experience spans digital, investment, innovation and client leadership,” Castree said in a statement. “She’s a collaborative and client-focused leader, a proven culture-builder, and her career is filled with many great accomplishments. She is universally liked and respected by her people, her clients and her partners in the marketplace and I’m delighted that she’s joining our global team.”

“This was just too good of an opportunity to pass up; to work with Tim to create a client-first media, content and technology agency, building on the strong cultures that already exist,” Richman added. “With leading talent and tech in place, we have an opportunity to drive the new agency model forward faster, in partnership with our clients and the marketplace.”

Richman formerly led Starcom USA’s cross-channel investment practice as president, working with clients including Samsung, Airbnb, Bank of America and Kraft Heinz.

Marla Kaplowitz, who held the title of North American CEO at MEC, left the organization earlier this year to become president and CEO of trade group the 4A’s.

The MEC-Maxus merger purportedly reflects WPP’s desire to consolidate GroupM’s international operations in the interest of cutting costs and investing in potential growth areas as the media agency landscape grows increasingly competitive. One key example is Amazon’s recently launched review of its $1 billion-plus global media buying and planning business. It’s unclear whether MEC, which has handled such work for Amazon in the U.S. and China, will be defending in the review.

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