UM Taps Organic Exec as Digital Lead

NEW YORK Universal McCann has hired former Organic executive Quentin George as director of digital strategy.

In his new role, George will help set the interactive agenda for the Interpublic Group media shop, with the digital leads in all geographies reporting to him. He will also help clients craft long-term strategies.

George, 37, spent two-plus years at Omnicom Group shop Organic, where he was named chief development officer in December 2006. Prior to that, he was vp, client services at aQuantive’s Avenue A/Razorfish.

While expressing reluctance to leave Organic, George said the opportunity to set the digital course at a 2,800-employee agency with clients like Coca-Cola, Intel and MasterCard was too inviting to pass up.

“It’s one of those ‘you-can’t-say-no’ opportunities,” he said. There’s nothing Organic could say to compete with this.”

This isn’t the first time Organic has seen a top executive poached by a traditional agency looking to infuse its operations with digital expertise. Chief creative officer Colleen DeCourcy departed the shop last summer to join JWT as its chief experience officer.

George will work closely with Bant Breen, president of IPG’s Futures Marketing Group, who previously held the UM digital director position. George is relocating from San Francisco to New York, and begins work April 30, reporting to UM CEO Nick Brien.

“We were looking for somebody with strong digital understanding but who knew how to apply that to the broader capabilities at Universal McCann,” Breen said. “There’s no doubt that ever company on Madison Avenue is trying to race to make sure they can deliver powerful solutions in the digital context.”