Interbrand Makes Executive Changes, Hires Former DDB North America CEO Mark O’Brien

By Patrick Coffee 

Omnicom’s consultancy Interbrand announced several key executive-level staffing changes this week.

An internal memo from global CEO Jez Frampton notes that 2016 was “a difficult year” for the North American network but that the organization looks to grow stronger this year, first by creating a new position: chief of commercial operations across the continent.

According to the note, former group COO/CFO Kelly Gall will fill that role, working closely with North American CEO Josh Feldmeth and COO/CFO Nancy Casey Kapplow to help “enable us to move faster, create a more agile operation, and to provide the commercial depth and rigour we need to take full advantage of our largest region.”


In Gall’s place, the network has hired Wendy Clark’s predecessor Mark O’Brien, who served as DDB’s North American president and CEO for five years before she took over last January. He spent more than two decades with the DDB organization.

Regarding the difficulties noted by Frampton, Interbrand appears to have lost some business over the past year. Last fall, the company attributed a group of approximately 25-30 layoffs at its New York headquarters to its decision to focus on more experiential work.

The group was very much present at the recently-concluded CES conference in Las Vegas. While there, New York and San Francisco managing director Daniel Binns spoke to Adweek’s video team about the inherent challenges of helping clients explain just how innovative their technologies really are.

Here’s the full Frampton memo.

Dear Interbrand,

I am excited to announce some senior changes within Interbrand Group, focused on our need to return to overall growth across the network. As you know, 2016 was a difficult year for Interbrand across North America and we need to shift our approach to ensure we return to growth and prosperity.

In order to lead a change in operational style, and approach, we need someone to help us with an intimate knowledge of the business, its leaders, our clients and our people. After much consideration, we have created a new role for Kelly Gall as Chief of Commercial Operations, North America.

Kelly has led our financial and operations team at Interbrand for 6 years and has done a superb job in leading the complex web of opportunities and issues across our network, whilst maintaining deep involvement and relationships with the team who run North America. Kelly will partner with Josh, Nancy and the rest of the team to enable us to move faster, create a more agile operation, and to provide the commercial depth and rigour we need to take full advantage of our largest region. Kelly will take full responsibility for the commercial operation of our business in North America and remain a member of our Global ExCom. Given her love of our business, I have no doubt that she will thrive in her new role.

Kelly’s approach and style will perfectly compliment our objectives, and our immediate goals, but of course it leaves us short on a Global Finance and Operations chief!

I can also now announce the appointment of Mark O’Brien as our new Group Chief Financial and Operations Officer. Some of you may have heard of, or even worked with Mark in one of his capacities at DDB. He is a great fan of Interbrand, and already has considerable experience with our business.

Mark began his career with Arthur Andersen in Dallas, Texas and one of his clients happened to be Tracy Locke, an Omnicom agency that is part of DDB. Mark was recruited by Tracy Locke / DDB in 1994. In 1996, Mark moved to New York to join Griffin Bacal, a subsidiary of DDB (ironically located at our Interbrand offices at 130, 5th Avenue) as its Chief Financial Officer where he worked to streamline agency operations.

In 1998 he joined DDB’s corporate staff as the Director of Worldwide Finance, where he oversaw financial reporting / forecasting to Omnicom, acquisitions and fee negotiations with major clients. During this period of time Mark worked closely with Interbrand, advising us on our annual business plans and providing general operational counsel.

Many of our North American colleagues got the opportunity to work with Mark when, in 2010, he became the President and CEO of DDB North America. Most recently, in 2016, Mark moved to Omnicom Group as Executive Vice President of Finance and Operations.

Please join me in congratulating Kelly on her new role, and welcoming Mark to the Interbrand family.

Best regards,

Jez Frampton
Group Chief Executive Officer