ZenithOptimedia shuffles the deckchairs as CEO Hipperson exits after L’Oreal loss

As expected, Publicis Groupe-owned ZenithOptimedia, one of its two main media agencies along with StarcomMediaVest (branding guys, branding) has ditched CEO Tim Hipperson in the wake of the loss of £135m L’Oreal UK to WPP’s Maxus.

Hipperson only joined six months ago, from non-media outfit G2 Joshua – although he may be thinking that six months is quite enough in a media agency.

Unknown-2But instead of appointing a new CEO ZO worldwide boss Steve King, a veteran of the UK media scene, has decided to set up a management board instead, chaired by ZO global managing partner (keep up at the back) Belinda Rowe (left).

King says: “With the new structure and the resources we’ve got, we don’t need a chief executive. What we need to do is leverage the skillsets we’ve got at a global level.”

Hmm. Sounds as though, following the unsuccessful experiment with Hipperson (who replaced Gerry Boyle) there’s a fair bit of fudging and smudging going on.

ZO recently ‘celebrated’ 25 years in business but, as with other big agency-owned media shops, the future looks rather cloudy. PG is about to merge with Omnicom which, in the UK, will leave the merged entity with nine media agencies. Which will have even the mostly kindly cost-cutter sharpening his scissors.

The likelihood is that merged POG (as Sir Martin Sorrell likes to call it) will move to a WPP-style structure with its version of WPP’s GroupM managing negotiations and share deals for whatever media agencies are left standing.

WPP may be winning the media wars at the moment but even it has to give ground against the likes of the mighty Facebook. Facebook has just poached MEC’s UK and EMEA boss Steve Hatch for the new post of UK and Ireland managing director, reporting to VP Nicola Mendelsohn who recently abandoned Karmarama for the Facebook shilling.


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