Young Ascends at Optimedia

NEW YORK Forty-year media agency executive Mike Drexler, currently president of Optimedia, an agency within Publicis Groupe’s ZenithOptimedia network, will retire this summer, the agency confirmed today.

Tim Jones, who replaced Rich Hamilton last year as CEO of ZenthOptimedia in the U.S., has appointed Antony Young to succeed Drexler.

Young is moving from London, where he has been CEO of ZenithOptimedia U.K. Group, to assume his new role. In the U.K., Gerry Boyle, who has been managing director of the ZO U.K. Group, will succeed Young.

Jones said in a statement: “Rising through Saatchi and Zenith as a strategic media planner, Antony went on to successfully build the Zenith Media network in Asia Pacific, then led the repositioning of ZenithOptimedia U.K. as a strategic media agency.”

New Zealand-born Young began his advertising career with Saatchi & Saatchi in Aukland, later joining Colenso/BBDO, where he was promoted to media director in 1990.

In 1995, Young relocated to Hong Kong with Saatchi & Saatchi as a board director and its regional head of media. A year later, he was appointed CEO of Zenith Media, as the network began launching across Asia. In 2001, he was named Asia CEO for ZenithOptimedia Group. Young transferred to London in 2003 as CEO of ZenithOptimedia U.K. Group.

Drexler’s career in media spans 40 years working with a slew of top agencies: Ogilvy & Mather; Doyle Dane Bernbach; Bozell; and FCB. He has worked with some of the greats of advertising, including David Ogilvy and Bill Bernbach.

Drexler, who is 67, came out of retirement to run Optimedia in 2002. His initial commitment was to stay for two years, but he remained for more than twice as long.

And he’s not sure how long this retirement will last. “You never know,” he said. “My last retirement lasted about a month and a half.” Drexler said he talked with Jones at the beginning of the year about retiring sometime in 2006. They settled on mid-year, and Drexler will depart on June 30.

“I do plan to take some time off,” said Drexler. That said, he added, “I do have a lot of things that interest me both personally and professionally.”

Jones said, “Under Mike’s leadership, the business has increased by two-thirds. Mike has a team of highly talented managers who deliver very exciting and innovative work.”