Matt Ryan Becomes Ewen Cameron’s Business Partner

Ryan assumes global CEO role at the United Network

Since Andy Berlin left Berlin Cameron United in 2008, co-founder Ewen Cameron has needed another bona fide business partner.

Tim Nicholls served as president of global brands from 2010 until late 2011, but wasn’t as impactful as Berlin, who in the early 2000s helped land high-profile brands like Coke Classic and Pfizer’s Zyrtec. Now, with Matt Ryan joining the WPP Group agency as global CEO, Cameron can shed his role as “suit” and focus on what he does best: creating strategies and ads for brands.

Accordingly, Cameron has willingly ceded his previous title of CEO to Ryan and kept the job of chairman. Both oversee a micro-network of eight offices that’s now known as the United Network. (The headquarters in New York is called Berlin Cameron United.)

Ryan, 52, most recently was co-chairman of the New York office of Havas Worldwide. At Havas, he also was president of global brands. He joined the shop in 2008 and left in June.

Ryan’s primary challenges at United are to raise the agency’s profile and attract global brands that can be shared among the network’s offices. Currently, the offices work primarily on their own local accounts with little overlap among clients. Ryan’s ties to the search consultant community (he previously worked with Roth Associates’ Richard Roth) should help.

In the U.S., Berlin Cameron in recent years has functioned as a backstop to fellow WPP shops like Team Detroit and Young & Rubicam on brands like Ford’s Mercury and Colgate’s Speed Stick. By definition, however, problem-solving on other agencies’ accounts is an under-the-radar affair with little fanfare. Indeed, the agency is known as the Mr. Wolfe of WPP. Now, however, it has another chance to stand out on its own.