Now US boss Brien quits ever-changing Dentsu Aegis, global jobs cut

The huge clearout at at Dentsu Aegis Network (the media arm of the Japanese ad conglomerate) continues apace – it’s looking rather like like a purge – as US CEO Nick Brien (below) departs to be replaced by Jacki Kelly hard on the heels of a number of UK departures, latterly former Asia Pacific boss and, briefly, UK chairman Nick Waters.

Wall Street Journal

All this follows DAN CEO Jerry Buhlmann’s decision to step down at the end of last year, seemingly with the grateful thanks of the Dentsu board as he pocketed about £5m. Brien is a former colleague of Buhlmann’s at the BBJ media agency, which Dentsu bought, and also a former CEO of McCann. On the face of it his departure seems amicable enough but there seems no doubt that the old guard is being gently ushered out of the door.

Kelly joined Dentsu earlier this year from Bloomberg, where she was chief operating officer. She is a former global CEO of UM and the CEO of North America and president of global clients at IPG Mediabrands.

Brien says: “Jacki has been a recognized and admired leader in this industry for over 25 years. She is absolutely the right person to lead Dentsu into 2020 and beyond.”

So it seems a pretty orderly transition at the media buying giant although we wait to see what else, if anything, emerges over the holiday period, a traditional time for change in adland.

What’s certain is that the old holding company media model, dominated by hard-driving traders who were mostly Brits, has well and truly changed.


DAN is cutting around ten per cent of jobs in the UK, Australia and other markets. Something’s evidently up.


Yet more top execs are leaving DAN, a proper Christmas cull. Doesn’t the company have enough business to go round? Also Nick Brien has been chosen as MediaPost’s Executive of the Year. Unless MediaPost has lost its marbles that suggests he was actually doing a pretty good job. Strange days indeed.

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