Cranmer begins his new role on May 1 and will report to Eric Salama, chief executive of Kantar Group, one of the world's largest research, insight and consultancy networks and owner of Research International.
Research International operates in more than 50 countries worldwide and has more than 2,500 employees. It recently acquired a majority share of RI's Chinese business and full control of Polish research company Pentor.
Salama said: "I'm thrilled that Mark is joining. He's entrepreneurial, understands what clients need and is committed to developing solutions proactively for them, is passionate about developing talent within his business and is intolerent of average work."
Cranmer said: "I am really excited by the change in direction Research International has given me. It's a strong global business, rich with unique capability and talent. I have spent the last year assessing the opportunities ahead of me and I'm convinced that RI's area of intelligent solutions through unique learning and insight provision is the space I want to be in."
Cranmer resigned from Starcom last March on a one-year notice period and was replaced by Iain Jacob, the former Starcom UK chief executive, last November.
While at Bartle Bogle Hegarty, he helped to create media division Motive. He then created a network for Publicis out of BBH, Leo Burnett and D'Arcy. He also created the Starcom offering by bringing together several media operations and was a managing director of BBDO.
His defection to the research industry, after a lifetime in advertising and media companies, has been much-discussed in the last couple of weeks with industry insiders believing he will help the research business with topical media issues such as fragmentation on market research offerings.
Cranmer is replacing Roger Banks at the helm, who negotiating another role within Kantar.
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