Optimedia Hires Lilley for New Biz

Publicis Groupe’s Optimedia USA this week adds Bob Lilley in the new post of evp, managing director of media/marketing development.

Lilley, 63, was recruited by Optimedia CEO Mike Drexler, who gave him his first media job in 1966 at Ogilvy & Mather. Drexler has been overseeing new business for the $1.5 billion media network—which handles L’Oréal, BMW, S.C. Johnson and British Airways, among others—since he was named CEO in March 2002.

Drexler was unavailable for comment. Rich Hamilton, North American CEO of the agency’s parent, ZenithOptimedia Group, said Drexler needed help handling the heavy new-business workload. “The business-development process needs a lot of seniority, a lot of contacts, a lot of expertise,” said Hamilton. “Bob Lilley has all of those things.”

“My career has come full circle,” said Lilley. “I’ve been what I call ‘the fireman’: the person who helps handle the client’s problems on a daily basis. … After being the person to come to after the honeymoon, I’ll be the one preceding the marriage.”

The lifelong New Yorker has worked as a media director at Grey, Kenyon & Eckhardt and SSC&B/ Lintas, and ran the New York office of Interpublic Group’s Western International Media from 1988-98. He most recently owned a consultancy, Media Ventures, whose clients included Showtime and ACNielsen.

“Bob is the quintessential media executive,” said Jamie Korsen, chief marketing officer at Avrett Free Ginsberg and a board member of the John A. Reisenbach Foundation, a charity chaired by Lilley that funds quality-of-life programs in New York. “He’s a mentor and someone who can open up a lot of doors for Optimedia.”