Stephen Allan, Chief executive officer

Report by Stephen Allan (above)
Chief executive officer

We will look back on 2008 as a year of significant progress as well as change for MediaCom. And despite the downturn in the global economy, our network continued to deliver revenue and profit growth.

In the summer I returned to MediaCom from GroupM UK and succeeded Alexander Schmidt-Vogel as CEO, a role in which he had served since 2002. He joins GroupM Global Trading as its CEO. We owe a huge debt of thanks to Alexander. His vision and leadership transformed us into a global media agency.

During my first 100 days, I set out a very ambitious agenda for our organisation, driven by our ambition to become the No.1 global media agency by the London 2012 Olympics. Underpinning this ambition is our desire to be the best company to work for in every market where we operate, and in keeping with our belief in ‘People First, Better Results’ we recognise the need to retain and recruit the best people. Nowhere was this better demonstrated than in the UK where MediaCom featured once again in the 2009 Sunday Times Best 100 Companies To Work For report.

Our first-ever global staff survey revealed that our people are very excited and positive about MediaCom’s future and that they regard the company as a fun place to work. I hope that the roll-out of our Freshness program will enable us to build on these survey results. Freshness aims to give our people a brilliant and differentiated work experience which in turn leads to greater business success and increased staff loyalty.

To ensure that we consistently deliver best-in-class services around the world, we put in place the additional central resources to achieve our goal. Key CEO appointments were made regionally and locally to create a new team with a proven track record of managing existing clients and winning new business. In addition to this, our global management team was strengthened by the appointment of a chief financial officer and chief HR and talent officer.

We have also strengthened our global functional leadership team by making new appointments in Business Science, Consumer Insights, ROI, Direct Marketing, client services and marketing. It is a true sign of the strength in depth of our people that we were able to fill almost all of these new roles from within our own ranks.

And while 2008 was about building for the future, it was also about doing great work now. This was reflected in the number of significant external awards that were received throughout the network – a staggering 107 accolades throughout the year, including five Agency of the Year awards in Singapore and the UK (three for London, one for Edinburgh).

According to RECMA’s latest definitive buying billings report, released in September 2008, MediaCom added more billings than any other agency network, moving the agency’s ranking from No.6 to No.5.

Our new business success continued in 2008 with wins which included Discover Financial Services and New Line Cinema in the US, Queensland Government in Australia, TUI Travel and E.ON in the UK and OBI in Germany.

We also expanded many of our current client relationships such as Wrigley in Mexico, SpecSavers in the Nordics, BSH in Spain and many new assignments from Procter & Gamble.

In 2008 our digital business continued to set the pace for growth and innovation. Underpinning our success in digital marketing is our ability to deliver innovative and measurable results for each client through the application of our proprietary media, technology and analytics.

For many clients we are pioneering the use of social media, enabling these marketers to distribute messages among millions of consumers and communities more efficiently and effectively than ever before.

Search also continues to evolve from its origins as an online direct response medium. At MediaCom we have integrated search specialists to work side by side with strategic planning teams. Our structure allows marketers to seamlessly integrate search into a wide range of communication programs, whether selling online, selling offline, building consumer relationships or building brand awareness and preference.

The current economic climate is quite possibly the most challenging that our industry has ever faced. However, I am confident that MediaCom can run a little faster than our competitors and seize an opportunity to grow our market position in 2009. The strengths of MediaCom clearly lie in our people and the world-class clients we act for. “People First, Better Results!”