Omnicom Media Group is undergoing a major leadership realignment, naming new chief executives at two of its agencies.
The media agency network appointed Ralph Pardo as CEO of Hearts & Science and Catherine Sullivan as CEO of PHD, effective immediately.
“We wanted to have a new leadership team in place [heading into planning for 2021] and we’ve been thinking about what the right formation would look like. Ralph and Catherine are both very close to the marketplace,” Omnicom Media Group North America CEO Scott Hagedorn told Adweek, adding that the group wanted to wait for upfronts to conclude before moving Sullivan out of her former role as Omnicom Media Group North America’s chief investment officer.
A 12-year Omnicom veteran, Pardo formerly led the AT&T business through an integrated cross-agency team combining talent from Hearts & Science and BBDO. Pardo succeeds Erin Matts, who is moving into another role within Omnicom.
“Erin did a great job at shoring up client relationships and building a standard for our work and delivery of our product,” as well as instituting formalized diversity and equity agendas within the agency, Hagedorn said.
Hagedorn explained that Pardo has played an instrumental, hands-on role in propelling the AT&T business, incorporating media and ad tech assets and creating an addressable product in the space. “He’s in a unique position to bring that to bear for Hearts & Sciences clients and prospective clients,” he said.
Sullivan, a four-year Omnicom veteran, led Omnicom Media Group’s audience-first investment approach. In 2018, she shook up the upfronts process with OMG’s Partners Summit, a media marketplace in which networks, publishers and platforms presented customized offers to Omnicom clients. Prior to joining Omnicom, Sullivan served in senior roles at Disney and NBC. Hagedorn said that Sullivan has been “at the forefront of change in the media space.”
Sullivan succeeds Nathan Brown, who is stepping down after six years as PHD CEO, and someone that Hagedorn said made a huge contribution to PHD culturally and excelled at converting DTC clients.
Geoffrey Calabrese, who formerly led the network’s private marketplace practice as OMnet president, will succeed Sullivan as chief investment officer for Omnicom Media Group North America. Prior to joining Omnicom, he served as a procurement lead for Colgate and then the NFL.
“We think he’s going to be dynamite in this role,” Hagedorn said. “Geoff’s going to go heavy on investment analytics and that was his cornerstone at Colgate.”
Hagedorn explained that Omnicom Media Group is confident that these leadership appointments will help the evolve the network to meet the needs of clients responding to changing consumer behavior in the wake of the pandemic.
“We need people with the ability to merge intuition and analytics together,” Hagedorn told Adweek. “Catherine and Ralph are really well-positioned to do that.”