February 5, 2023

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Agency news to know: Jan. 20, 2023


Dentsu X’s first North America CEO

Dentsu X has named Leah Meranus CEO of Dentsu X North America, a newly created role. The promotion from U.S. chief media officer puts Meranus in the driver’s seat to grow the media agency in the U.S. and Canada through new partnerships, developing talent and ultimately greater business results. She will report to Doug Rozen, CEO of Dentsu Media Americas. 

“Leah’s reputation and conviction are unparalleled,” Rozen said in a statement. “Every day, she is leading what’s next in media.” Under Meranus’ leadership, the agency brought in key business wins including Heineken, Santander, Insmed, JCPenney, Scenic Cruises and The Aspen Group. The shop kicked off 2023 by winning McCormick & Co.’s global media account.

The agency is looking for someone to fill Meranus’s former role, according to a spokeswoman for the agency.

Meranus is already working to fill out her executive leadership team with the promotion of Scott Daly to chief client officer of Dentsu X U.S. Daly was previously executive VP and managing director for the agency’s U.S. operations. 

Just briefly

GroupM has appointed Josh Krichefski as its CEO for Europe, the Middle East & Africa along with the U.K. He succeeds Demet İkiler, who is stepping down from her position as CEO for GroupM EMEA and WPP Country Manager for Turkey at the end of the month; and Karen Blackett, who served as GroupM’s U.K. CEO until her elevation to a new role as president of WPP in the U.K. in September 2022. Krichefski, who is based in London, has been part of GroupM since 2011, when he joined MediaCom as chief operating officer for EMEA. He most recently led the integration of EssenceMediacom as global COO.

Ogilvy has hired Kevin Nelson as WPP’s global client lead for IBM. Nelson joins from McCann Worldgroup, where he most recently served as managing director of McCann New York and global business lead for IPG’s dedicated global Microsoft unit. Nelson will also be responsible for leading Ogilvy’s B2B practice.

Chicago-based agency Laughlin Constable has hired Amy Merchant in the newly created role of executive VP, head of account management. Merchant was previously a managing director of Havas Chicago.

VaynerMedia EMEA has hired Twitter VP of Media Ed Turner as VP of media EMEA. Turner replaces Ben Allison, who was promoted to a global media operations role within Vayner. VaynerMedia also appointed Sarah Cabey as VP of client partnerships.

Gary Vaynerchuk, founder of VaynerMedia, is launching VaynerWatt with RSE Ventures and Eric Wattenberg, who will serve as CEO. The new production company will create original long- and short-form content for linear networks and streaming services.

Publicis Toronto has appointed Jessica Balter its first chief marketing officer. Balter has been at Publicis Toronto for 13 years, most recently growing the agency’s data and insights practice as senior VP of data and insights. 

Weber Shandwick has hired Edelman U.S. Chief Operating Officer Jim O’Leary as CEO of North America, effective at the end of January. O’Leary will replace Joy Farber Kolo, who moves into a global role as chief brand officer of the Weber Shandwick Collective.



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