TBWA Taps Saatchi Vet To Run Mars

Omnicom Group’s TBWA Worldwide has brought on board John McNeel, a longtime Saat chi & Saatchi executive, to oversee the $150 million global Mars account.

As evp, worldwide account director, McNeel will manage nearly a dozen brands, including Whiskas, Uncle Ben’s and Combos. The business is shared by offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia, with a big chunk at TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif., and a few brands at TBWA\C\D, here.

McNeel, 47, will be based in New York but will spend at least half of his time visiting client executives and other network offices. He reports to Tom Car roll, TBWA’s president of the Americas. TBWA is still as sembling Mc Neel’s team.

Mars landed on the agency’s roster in May after the com pany ended its 52-year relationship with Bcom3’s D’Arcy Mas ius Benton & Bowles.

In his 14 years at Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi, McNeel held leadership roles in France, Tur key, the Middle East and the U.S. McNeel left the agency in late 2001 and was working as a consultant when he was approached by TBWA CEO Jean-Marie Dru. The two know each other from their days at Young & Rubicam in Paris, where they worked together in the early 1980s.

McNeel’s last post at Saatchi was evp, director of operations on Procter & Gamble in New York. He focused on global staffing and compensation issues and helped the agency adapt to P&G’s shift to a media-neutral, performance-based com pensation system.

Before that, McNeel was chairman and CEO of Saatchi’s Middle East operation, whose biggest clients include P&G and Visa.

Carroll described McNeel as a “motivated and experienced leader” and a “world-class talent.”