Omnicom has promoted Daryl Simm, the global head of its media-buying operation, to president and chief operating officer.
Effective immediately, the new role appears to signal that Simm is now number two at the US agency holding group and a leading contender to succeed John Wren, the long-serving chairman and chief executive.
Simm, the global chief executive of Omnicom Media Group, has worked at Omnicom since 1998 and was previously a long-serving executive at Procter & Gamble.
Omnicom, which Wren has led since 1997, was a strong performer in the run-up to the pandemic and overtook WPP to become the world's most valuable agency group in 2018. But it has lagged rivals since 2020.
Campaign reported last week that Publicis Groupe has overtaken Omnicom by stock market capitalisation.
WPP has also rebounded to leapfrog Omnicom and – in another significant move – Interpublic has been closing the gap on its bigger US rival.
Wren is 69 and Simm is 60. The promotion puts Simm in a strong position to lead Omnicom in the future, according to a well-placed source.
Florian Adamski, global chief executive of OMD Worldwide, will replace Simm as global chief executive of OMG.
Wren said: "Daryl has been instrumental in developing our media network since its inception.
"He has been a driving force behind the growth of award-winning, full-service media agencies OMD, PHD and Hearts & Science, as well as many other businesses that are major contributors to Omnicom's success."
Wren also commended Simm for his instrumental role in developing Omnicom's open operating system, Omni, which is used by more than "40,000 employees, hundreds of clients, as well as being customised by practice areas like commerce, health and PR with unique solutions".
Wren is the longest-serving CEO of the established agency groups
Wren, who added the role of chairman to his CEO title in 2018, added: “Daryl is well-respected across the company and, in partnership with our executive leadership team, has helped us develop our strategy for future growth. I am very pleased to have him in this new role at Omnicom.”
He also praised Adamski. “As evidenced by our recent Mercedes-Benz win, Florian’s ability to work across different geographies and cultures, as well as his unique ability to solve client challenges by bringing together the best of our service offerings across the company, makes him well-suited for this larger role at the OMG level,” Wren said.
In Omnicom’s statement about the job appointments, it stressed that Simm and Adamski “demonstrate the company’s depth and breadth of talent, with both leaders being well respected within the industry, having earned very strong internal support, and deservedly gaining client endorsements from some of the world’s most iconic brands”.
Wren is the longest-serving CEO of the established agency groups. Publicis Groupe changed its CEO in 2017, WPP in 2018 and Interpublic at the start of 2021.
Omnicom’s organic revenues fell 11.1% last year – one of the steepest declines seen among the established agency groups.
Although the company has bounced back in 2021, its Q3 revenues remained below 2019 levels on an organic basis, according to analysts at Moffett Nathanson.
That was in contrast to Interpublic, WPP and Publicis Groupe, which all reported growth well above 2019 levels.