Omnicom’s digital strategy wobbles as it changes top managers at Organic

Digital is becoming a bit of an issue for the mighty Omnicom; the marcoms giant’s strategy of embedding digital skills in its its mainstream agencies is being questioned and it has just replaced CEO Marita Scarfi with former Wunderman man David Shulman (pictured) as head of Organic in the US, one of its few standalone digital agencies.

On top of that it’s weighing a $600m bid for indie digital conglomerate LBi, a big company by digital standards but not a brand on the scale of the slightly smaller (in financial terms) AKQA which was recently acquired by deadly rival WPP for $540m.

According to Ad Age Organic’s revenue has been falling for the last couple of years, standing at $123m last year, and this seems to have done for Scarfi who has been with the company in various roles since 1996.

Shulman has had a varied career as a client at Ford, at WPP’s failed Dell agency Enfatico and then at Wunderman which does seem to have succeeded in turning itself from a direct marketing agency into a digital something or other. Amid all this he found time to co-found a software company in the Ukraine.

“David’s combination of client, digital, CRM and global experience is quite an interesting mix for a company like Organic,” says Omnicom Digital CEO Jonathan Nelson, who founded the agency.

This is hardly praising Shulman from the rooftops but that’s maybe sensible from Nelson. One suspects that he and his ultimate boss Omnicom CEO John Wren have more work to do to get Omnicom’s digital strategy back on track.

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