That’s Dawn, E. Hudson, former boss of Pepsi-Cola in North America and currently vice chairman of consulting firm The Parthenon Group and not Dawn Hudson the actress and film maker.
Our Hudson is joining the board of Interpublic as a non-executive but, as well as having the experience to make wise noises in board meetings, she also has all the qualifications to succeed Interpublic chairman and CEO Michael Roth one day.
Roth, who took over the top job in 2007 and has overseen Interpublic’s return to something like health, is more than ten years older than Hudson at 65 and, unlike his grey fox peers Sir Martin Sorrell at WPP, Maurice Levy at Publicis Groupe and John Wren at Omnicom is unlikely to take the risk of outstaying his welcome.
Prior to Pepsi-Cola Hudson was a senior marketer at Pepsi-owned Frito-Lay and before that a senior agency manager at DMB&B and Omnicom.
The Parthenon Group is a business strategy consultancy, which is handy for making contact with those clients she doesn’t already know. She has also served on the board of US women’s golf association the LPGA for a decade or so.
And she’s also a woman which should appeal to Roth who has made it his business to promote women in advertising and has criticised his peers for not doing so. Hudson will now be the fourth woman on Interpublic’s ten-strong board, a far higher proportion than any other marcoms group. Roth hosted a session at this year’s Cannes Festival to underline the point.
There will be other contenders at Interpublic of course and Hudson may not want the job. But former UK media man and head of McCann Worldgroup Nick Brien has his work cut out trying to give Interpublic’s biggest agency network a creative retread and there don’t appear to be too many others with the range of experience Hudson possesses.
It’s also quite bizarre that, at a time when more and more women are finally making it to the upper levels of the world’s biggest advertisers, the senior management of the biggest agency players is almost exclusively composed of ageing men.
And for any male chauvinist clients out there (and doubtless there are some) Hudson can at least take them out for a decent round of golf.