Norman in New GroupM Global Digital Role

Maxus' Clark replaces him as N.A. chief

Rob Norman, chief executive of GroupM North America, has been named chief digital officer of GroupM Global, a newly created position that signals the importance of digital operations in the WPP company’s future growth. 

Kelly Clark, global CEO of GroupM’s Maxus media network, will succeed Norman in running North American operations. The changes take effect later this year.

“Our activity in digital will define our future success and we are truly fortunate that Rob will step into this crucial role full time,” Dominic Proctor, president of GroupM Global, said in a statement. “There is nobody better suited or more experienced than Rob to lead our teams into the future.”

Norman comes into his new role well qualified: He’s been CEO of GroupM Interaction since 2006, where he oversaw the company's digital operations. By some estimates, GroupM's global digital spending in 2011 was pegged at about $5.5 billion, with 2012 expected to show an additional 15 percent growth. After this summer's acquisition of AKQA, one of the industry's last big independents, WPP is widely considered to be the largest global digital player, and by extension GroupM as the biggest buyer of digital space. GroupM's Proctor said Norman’s responsibilities will be “significantly expanded” in his new global position. In March 2010, Norman added responsibility as chief of North America, taking over from Marc Goldstein.

Succeeding Clark at Maxus is Vikram Sakhuja, CEO of GroupM India and South Asia. While Sakhuja takes on that role later this year, he will also remain in his current position until a successor is named.

Under Clark, who took over Maxus in 2008, the media network has experienced considerable growth. Adweek named the company its 2011 “Media Agency of the Year” and last month Maxus was cited as the fastest-growing global media services agency in the world for the third consecutive year by research firm RECMA.

Prior to his arrival at Maxus, Clark served as CEO of GroupM Europe, Middle East and Africa. The changes follow Proctor’s appointment to his current role earlier this year after serving as CEO of Mindshare Worldwide.