Amanda Richman, formerly CEO of Wavemaker’s U.S. business, is joining sister agency Mindshare as North America CEO, the agencies said Wednesday.
Richman will report to Adam Gerhart, who was elevated to global CEO of Mindshare in December. Gerhart replaced Nick Emery, who was abruptly dismissed last fall after an inappropriate video call prank that fell flat.
In her new role, Richman will oversee 1,700 employees across Mindshare’s U.S. and Canada businesses, where the agency handles more than $7 billion in client billings.
Louisa Wong, CEO of the Americas at Wavemaker, will take over Richman’s remit at the agency.
Richman aims to build on Mindshare’s philosophy of “intentional media,” which means looking at media investment beyond savings and value creation for clients as something that can be “good for society and good for the bottom line,” she said.
Mindshare has built on this approach with its Inclusion PMP, which creates access to minority owned media companies, and its involvement with GroupM’s data ethics compass, which helps clients ask the right questions about how to use data for media buying.
This approach aligns with GroupM’s new responsible investment framework, which focuses on directing client dollars toward media that is brand safe, sustainable, diverse, ethical and supports quality journalism.
“We're entering an era where the notion of business growth isn't in opposition to doing good,” Richman said. “Sustainable growth is good for business and good for the world. I do believe in this year's upfront and beyond, we'll see more action.”
At Mindshare, Richman will helm a more established and scaled agency than Wavemaker, which was a newer, challenger brand resulting from the 2017 merger of MEC and Maxus. The agency, however, is defending a few major accounts this year, including longtime client Unilever, which recently kicked off a global media review, and Facebook, which also launched a media review for its $750 million account.
“Defenses are part of the client-agency fabric,” Richman said. “It’s a moment where you can step back, take stock and design and deliver a vision for what the partnership can look like in the future. They are a healthy part of how we work.”
In addition to what is shaping up to be a big year for reviews, Richman is also focused on Mindshare’s culture, which, in addition to Emery’s abrupt exit last year, is facing the same pressures around creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace that all agencies are grappling with.
“Culture is never defined by one person. It's defined by the everyday actions of people at the agency and our clients,” she said. “We are dependent on diversity. It builds more creativity and makes our business stronger when we can represent the consumers our clients connect with.”
Richman also has her eye on the commerce space, which is becoming a must-have expertise for media agencies as online shopping rapidly accelerates.
“The shift to e-commerce was expected, but not at this speed,” she said. “Our ability to better connect commerce to the full-funnel approach is something we want to double down on.”