MediaCom Global CEO Stephen Allan Steps Down After 12 Years

Current global COO Nick Lawson will succeed him

photo of a man in a blue suit
Stephan Allen will transition out of the role he has held since 2008. MediaCom

This summer will bring a changing of the guard at WPP media agency MediaCom as Stephen Allan steps down as worldwide chairman and CEO of the GroupM agency after 12 years in the role.

“My decision to step down has been the most difficult one I have taken during my 38-year career at MediaCom, but I decided the time has come to take all I’ve learned in building and growing a truly global network and I’m excited to apply it to a new challenge,” Allan said in a statement.

“Together we amassed an unbelievable portfolio of clients, and as an agency, reached heights that seemed impossible when we started out. I have been so fortunate to have had the support and loyalty of countless people who’ve worked alongside me, many for two or three decades,” he added.

The 38-year agency veteran will be succeeded by Nick Lawson, who currently serves as the agency’s global COO. Lawson will take over the role effective July 1, following a transitional period.

Allan concluded his statement by saying he “couldn’t be happier to hand the reins over to Nick who is a world-class leader, knowing that the MediaCom I will always love is in very safe hands.”

“I am honored to have been asked to take over as the global leader for MediaCom,” Lawson said in a statement. “This agency inspires me every day—our amazing people, the outstanding work they do, the trust our clients place in us and the opportunities that lie ahead.”

During Allan’s tenure as CEO, MediaCom grew to become a top four media agency worldwide, according to COMvergence. In 2018, MediaCom was named Adweek’s Global Media Agency of the Year after bouncing back from losing the Volkswagen account with a string of new business wins that amounted to $4.6 billion in gross annual billings.

Prior to becoming global CEO in 2008, Allan served as MediaCom U.K. CEO and GroupM U.K. CEO. In addition to his role at MediaCom, Allan also co-founded and serves as chairman for Rays of Sunshine, a charity that grants wishes to terminally and seriously ill children.

“I want to thank Steve for all he has done to build MediaCom into one of the world’s leading media agencies, working with many of the largest industry brands,” GroupM global CEO Christian Juhl said in a statement. “Steve’s commitment to his people and the organization is unmatched.”

Lawson is an agency veteran of over two decades. Starting out as a media planner, he worked his way up to chief executive roles including MediaCom U.K. CEO in 2006 and EMEA CEO in 2008. He was named worldwide COO last year.

“Nick has been an influential and energetic leader across MediaCom for over 20 years,” Juhl continued. “He is the perfect example of someone who brings to life our vision of making advertising work better for people. I am excited to have him as a close partner as we look at our future agency offering and consider how to create an environment where technology paves the way toward better work experiences for our people and impact for our clients.”

@ErikDOster Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.