MSL restructures senior U.S. leadership

Five staff positions have been eliminated, including three SVPs - fellow Publicis firm Rokkan is moving into MSL's New York HQ and will share its space.

MSL’s CEO of U.S. operations Ron Guirguis.
MSL’s CEO of U.S. operations Ron Guirguis.

NEW YORK: MSLGroup has expanded the responsibilities of several of its senior leaders to integrate operations across the U.S.

Danielle Wuschke, MD, Boston and global practice director for technology, takes on a new role leading operations across the country, working closely with MSL’s CEO of U.S. operations Ron Guirguis. Wuschke joined from FleishmanHillard in April to run MSL Boston.

The MD of the Publicis firm’s Atlanta office, Kyle Farnham, takes on responsibility for the agency’s organic growth in the U.S., working closely with global client engagement director Stephanie Smith.

Washington D.C.-based SVP Sheila McLean will lead MSL’s enhanced citizenship and sustainability offering across the U.S., unifying capabilities in New York, Detroit, Chicago and DC. Archie Smart, EVP and Washington D.C. office digital and interactive services lead, takes on responsibility for unifying MSL’s digital social offerings across nine U.S. offices.

The agency is also connecting creative staffers under a centralized project management team – strategic planning director George Conboy will have U.S. responsibility for strategy and creativity and be the primary link with Publicis Groupe’s creative agencies.

Andrew Silver, MD of the Publicis Groupe agency’s New York office, left MSL last month following two years in the role – Guirguis has taken on his duties. Five staff positions have been eliminated in this part of the restructure, but Guirguis wouldn’t specify who those people are.

"This is our last set of structural changes," said Guirguis. "We want to give our performing offices all the support they need; stabilize our struggling offices; and restructure our underperforming offices so they’ll be able to perform long term."

Senior MSL departures in 2015 included chief client officer Renee Wilson; global corporate and brand citizenship practice lead Scott Beaudoin; North America consumer practice director Denise Vitola; global social media and digital lead Stephanie Agresta; global digital and social strategy director Matt Dickman; digital practice leader Leslie Campisi; global tech practice director Bryan Scanlon; SVP of insights and analytics in North America Allan Dib; and chief communications officer Trudi Harris.

Guirguis, who just celebrated one year in the lead U.S. role at MSLGroup, said: "The strategy is paying off. More than half our offices are ahead of plan, seven out of nine are delivering strong double-digit margins, several of them – Washington, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, our events company PBJS – are delivering double-digit revenue growth."

MSLGroup lost its high-profile multimillion dollar PayPal account in April, which hit the firm’s offices in San Francisco, Boston, and New York particularly hard.

"We’re restructuring in San Francisco, under Curt Kundred’s leadership, and in New York," said Guirguis. "The plan and momentum around integration is working – we’re doing exponentially more work across offices and markets."

MSL just won the Ameriprise Financial account, which is being serviced by its team in New York. Other client wins this year included $4 million of healthcare, b2b, and technology wins out of its Boston office including Edison Energy, OvaScience, SapientNitro, and, which helped make up the shortfall of the PayPal loss.

The firm won and grew the Promised Land Dairy business in its Seattle office; Exide Technologies and TriHealth out of Atlanta; Mobility Ventures out of Detroit and D.C.

The restructure of MSL and creative sibling Leo Burnett's PR offerings in Chicago under the MSLGroup brand, now led by MD Amy Cheronis, brought on new clients including Allstate Insurance and United Healthcare.

Sister Publicis firm Rokkan is moving its New York office into MSL’s space at 375 Hudson Street. Rokkan’s 110-strong team will join MSLGroup’s 160 staffers on the same floor, which has been completely refurbished with many open plan areas. Guirguis has given up his corner office and will sit among the rest of the staff.

"New York is our largest and most important office," said Guirguis. "As goes New York, so does the U.S. We need to hit the gas pedal and match our client work with our financial performance."

MSL is projecting low single-digit growth in the U.S. in 2016, trailing slightly behind its overall global performance. The agency grew 3% organically in the U.S. in 2015, 5% globally.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in