Key Leaders Elevated to CEO Roles at McCann Worldgroup and IPG Mediabrands

July 21, 2022 | Share this article

Daryl Lee to Lead McCann Worldgroup and Eileen Kiernan to Lead IPG Mediabrands

Bill Kolb Moves to Chairman Role at McCann Worldgroup

Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG) announced today senior leadership changes that will see a number of outstanding, tenured executives assume significant new responsibilities within the holding company.

At McCann Worldgroup, Daryl Lee, previously the Global CEO of IPG Mediabrands, has been named Global CEO. Eileen Kiernan has been named Global CEO of IPG Mediabrands, succeeding Lee in that role. Bill Kolb, the current CEO of McCann Worldgroup, will remain Chairman of the division. While these changes take effect immediately, the three executives will continue working with their existing teams and clients over the next month to ensure that all necessary transitional actions related to their new roles are complete by September 6, 2022.

IPG CEO Philippe Krakowsky noted Daryl Lee’s long record of leadership success, across both the media and creative agency landscape, as catalysts for his being named to helm the company’s flagship creatively focused global network. Krakowsky also noted the depth and breadth of Eileen Kiernan’s experience and exceptional results helping brands achieve long-term transformation goals as key drivers for her being elevated to lead IPG’s media assets. The new role will see her become one of the senior-most female executives in the advertising sector.

On Daryl Lee:
“Daryl is an exceptional thinker, business-builder and leader, who is as passionate about helping our clients achieve success in the marketplace as he is about building organizations where our people can thrive. During his time leading both Mediabrands and UM, he has proven that he can build capabilities and inspire agency cultures that are fully focused on our clients, deliver growth and innovation, as well as invite diverse perspectives into the conversation. In a previous stretch at McCann Worldgroup, Daryl served as Global Chief Strategy Officer and Global Chief Integration Officer, working directly with many of the network’s current clients and much of the global leadership team, so he is familiar with the agency and the ways in which it is evolving its offerings to combine creative ideas with emerging communications channels. This combination of skills and experience, leading a strong team already in place across Worldgroup, means that Daryl is well-positioned to advance the success of the network and drive it to further achieve its ambition of being the global leader of creativity that drives growth for our client partners,” commented Krakowsky.

On Eileen Kiernan:
Additionally, Krakowsky indicated that “Eileen is deeply strategic and equally pragmatic, delivering outstanding work while inspiring the broader organization. She is a great collaborator, never losing sight of client needs, and how we can most effectively continue to evolve our offerings. Her depth of experience working across the media landscape makes Eileen the ideal executive to lead IPG Mediabrands as it continues to set standard for innovating in ways that help clients’ businesses win in today’s digital economy. As we continue to seek to drive more integration across media, data and technology, and as we combine those offerings with the work that’s being done across the IPG portfolio, I am confident that Eileen can play an integral leadership role on that important journey.”

On Bill Kolb:
“Bill has been a colleague for over 20 years and has a deep understanding of the marketing services landscape. As Chairman of Worldgroup, Bill will support Daryl and the senior leadership team, engage in important areas such as ESG and continue to partner with certain clients. He will also work with me on IPG initiatives, where we can draw on his operational experience and knowledge of evolving areas of the business, such as production and marketing technology platform offerings,” said Krakowsky.

Daryl Lee experience:
Since 2019, Lee has served as Global CEO of IPG Mediabrands, a client-first, consultative community of 13,000 media and marketing solutions specialists in 130+ countries. During his tenure, Mediabrands has been known for its winning culture and integration of data and technology to power audience-led marketing that delivers business results. Lee has also been a champion of inclusion in media investment, notably through the industry’s first “Equity Upfronts,” which Mediabrands introduced in 2020. For the previous six and a half years, Lee was Global CEO of UM, a global media and advertising agency within the IPG Mediabrands family. In 2016, Adweek named Lee “Executive of the Year,” citing his record at UM in winning major global new business and fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion. He is a long-term member of the Board of Directors of the Effie Awards, having previously served as its Chairman, and most recently served as President of the Media Jury at the 2022 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Lee initially joined Interpublic as Global President and Head of Global Strategy at UM, before moving to McCann, where he served in two key global roles before returning to UM. Hailing from South Africa, Lee earned a Doctor of Philosophy at Oxford University (which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar) and began his business career as a consultant at McKinsey & Company.

“I’m excited to combine McCann Worldgroup’s exceptional strategic and creative strength with the ways in which we’ve harnessed data and technology in the media world to accelerate growth for our clients. A hybrid mindset that understands both content and distribution is something that many clients have been demanding and it’s what is required for growth in the 21st century. I am thankful for the opportunity to help make that a reality in the marketplace. All the agencies within McCann Worldgroup are world-class and together we have the power to unlock unstoppable momentum for brands. It’s an honor to come home to McCann in this role, and I’m very much looking forward to working with Bill and the entire McCann Worldgroup family again,” commented Lee.

Eileen Kiernan experience:
For the past nine and a half years, Kiernan served in a succession of increasingly senior global leadership positions at UM, rising from CMO of the agency to Global President to CEO. She was a key driver of the development of a dedicated agency model that for nearly a decade has incorporated data-led decision-making to media planning and buying for Johnson & Johnson, was a key member of Lee’s team that differentiated UM through its “Better Science, Better Art, Better Outcomes” positioning, and most recently launched the agency’s “Future Proof” business model, which incorporates close collaboration with other Mediabrands units and Interpublic’s Acxiom and Kinesso offerings to uncover new sources of growth for clients. Last year, Campaign named UM its “Global Agency of the Year” and recognized Kiernan as a finalist in the “Agency Leader” category. Prior to UM, Kiernan held leadership roles at media agencies, as well as on the client and media-owner sides of the business.

“I am so pleased to take the helm at Mediabrands at a time when we are experiencing tremendous momentum as a network and great change as an industry,” said Kiernan. “Like Daryl, I am a true believer in Media for Good – media that is responsible, equitable and ethical – and I look forward to doubling down on our commitment to make media a positive societal force through relentless innovation and new industry standards. Our people and connectivity as a community are what drives us all forward, and I will continue to champion global initiatives that improve our internal processes, inspire our people and reflect our values.”

For an initial period, Kiernan will remain in her UM role, in addition to her new IPG Mediabrands responsibilities. A new CEO for the UM network will be named later this year, though a timetable for that appointment has yet to be finalized.

Bill Kolb experience:
Prior to his role as CEO for McCann Worldgroup, Kolb served as COO of the network, where he was responsible for overseeing business operations across all agencies and markets. Kolb’s long and successful history within McCann Worldgroup spans over two decades, inclusive of client leadership roles, as well as operating leadership at MRM and Momentum.

“I’m proud of all that we’ve been able to accomplish here at Worldgroup over the last two decades. Being part of the leadership teams at Momentum, MRM and here at Worldgroup, I’ve seen firsthand the magic and business results we can create for our clients when we help their brands play a meaningful role in people’s lives. I look forward to working with Daryl as he carries our work forward, and with Philippe on broader group initiatives,” said Kolb.

Read the press release here.