Epsilon CEO Departs as Consultancy Moves Further into Creative Agency Turf

By Patrick Coffee 

A few weeks ago, Epsilon turned some heads in the agency world by winning creative AOR duties for Del Monte.

This was significant because Epsilon has long been considered a Deloitte-style data-focused marketing company and/or consultancy. Chief creative officer and Leo Burnett veteran John Immesoete emphasized that point in the following quote for Adweek:

“Data shows us things that other agencies can’t see—consumers, buying patterns, unique insights—and we’re able to bring clients like Del Monte big creative ideas to capitalize on our unique perspective.”


He added, “We’re different than any other agency out there, which is why we’re starting to get a lot of notice” — and now the newly christened agency has a new chief executive officer.

CEO Andy Frawley has left Epsilon after nearly 7 years, and his responsibilities will now be handled by company veteran Bryan Kennedy.

The news marks the latest in a series of changes made by Epsilon since it acquired ad tech company Conversant in 2014 for a whopping $2.3 billion dollars. At that point Frawley effectively assumed Kennedy’s role as CEO of Epsilon while the latter executive oversaw the Conversant portion of the business (though Frawley still reported to him). Earlier this year, the company also parted with Mark Modesto, president of retail/consumer packaged goods and client services who had formerly led the Chicago offices of FCB.

This development is not directly related to the creative agency world, but it is significant primarily because, as mentioned in the headline, Epsilon plans to continue aggressively competing against creative agencies in pitches by highlighting its tech and data capabilities.

We interviewed Frawley one month ago for an Adweek piece about Dentsu Aegis acquiring the performance marketing company Merkle, and he told us that the move marked Dentsu’s attempt to compete directly with Sir Martin Sorrell and WPP on the data front (to the chagrin of certain creatives). Regarding Epsilon’s plans moving forward, he said: “[We] went in the other direction by buying ad agencies. I think there’s a convergence of traditional holding companies wanting to have better data.”

Moving forward, Epsilon will continue to use that data as a tool to help it stand out from traditional creative agencies in pitches.

Frawley has launched his own Boston-based consultancy AJ Frawley & Associates to help clients “navigate the intersection of MarTech, AdTech and Customer Experience.”