GroupM, the media investment arm of ad agency giant WPP, has named Sharb Farjami as its North America CEO.
Farjami replaces Kirk McDonald, whose exit was announced last October. He succeeds Mindshare’s Global CEO Adam Gerhart, who took on the added role of Interim CEO for GroupM North America during a search for McDonald’s replacement. Gerhart will continue to oversee Mindshare’s global agency operations.
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The changing of the guard comes as advertising buyers and sellers are ramping up for the annual upfront season in the spring, when a large chunk of the TV ad business is transacted.
GroupM’s North America chief is an internal hire. Previously, Farjami served as North America CEO of GroupM agency Wavemaker. The company’s official announcement said Farjami helped establish Wavemaker as the leading performer in new business in North America during his tenure.
“Sharb is a hands-on, collaborative leader and a brilliant thinker about the issues shaping the future of our industry,” GroupM Global CEO Christian Juhl said in a press release. “He brings a diverse range of industry experience to the role having worked both agency and publisher-side in multiple markets around the world and his success leveraging the best of the GroupM platform to drive advantages for Wavemaker’s clients is a model for the future of our organization.”
Farjami joined Wavemaker in 2021 after holding senior exec posts at Foxtel, News Corp and Viacom. He will continue to oversee Wavemaker in North America until a replacement is identified.
“GroupM is well positioned to help our clients in North America do more with their media investments, elevate the role of marketing, and ultimately exceed their business objectives,” the exec said. “As we embark on our next phase of transformation, I feel a great sense of privilege and responsibility to help accelerate our innovation on behalf of our clients who entrust us to shape the future of our industry on their behalf.”
Juhl thanked Gerhart for taking the North America reins on an interim basis. “We’re fortunate to have been able to rely on his leadership to help us close out 2023 in a strong position,” he said, “and glad to have him fully focused on Mindshare’s continued growth and success as we go into the year ahead.”
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