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OMD USA Elevates Former Global CSO Christina Hanson to CEO

This story was originally published in Adweek.

Adweek 2022 Media All Star Christina “Chrissie” Hanson is stepping up to lead Omnicom Media Group agency OMD USA, replacing the agency’s previous CEO John Osborn.

Hanson ascends to the role after filling the global chief strategy officer position since 2018.

The announcement comes as OMD is upping its commitment to media measurement, having just launched a new attention calculator within its Omni platform. Hanson’s appointment also coincides with broader leadership changes at the holding company. OMD is OMG’s largest media agency and its recent leadership moves reflect a pipeline from OMD to the top of the media group. Its previous global CEO, Florian Adamski, now leads OMG and George Manas succeeded Adamski as OMD’s global leader. Hanson’s new role also correlates with OMG’s new business turnaround—early COMvergence estimates put the OMD parent company below only GroupM in terms of new business earned in the second quarter. (It fell to third place behind both Publicis Media and GroupM in the first quarter.)

“Working with so many OMD USA clients and account teams over the past four years has given me invaluable insight into our clients’ needs and how leadership can best help our people meet those needs. These learnings will inform everything I do and every decision I make as CEO,” Hanson said in a statement.

OMD’s strategic visionary

In all, Hanson spent half of her 22-year career at OMD. She led OMD’s work in attention measurement, working with others at the agency and at Annalect to create OMD’s new Attention Requirement Calculator (ARC) tool.

The tool fundamentally changes OMD’s planning process to account for consumer attention levels. Planners access the ARC within the Omni platform to gauge which channels, content formats and creative will lead to optimal media performance for the agency’s clients.

Hanson presented OMD attention research at an Association of National Advertisers (ANA) symposium and a World Advertising Research Center (WARC) symposium, as well as at Advertising Week New York and at Cannes.

Hanson’s skill set is uniquely suited to the industry gripped with issues related to privacy, measurement, e-commerce and DEI initiatives.

“At a time when the demand for strategic solutions that have a measurable impact on media ROI has never been greater, Chrissie’s experience will be an invaluable asset to our clients and our teams,” OMD Worldwide CEO George Manas said in a statement.

Osborn steps down

After over 30 years with Omnicom and five years as OMD USA’s leader, Osborn is stepping down to focus on his work with non-profit organizations including the American Red Cross and Global Dignity. Osborn will provide Hanson transitional support for the next 30 days.

“Nothing says more about the impact that John has had at OMD than the way he led the agency through the Covid crisis,” said Ralph Pardo, CEO, Omnicom Media Group North America, in a statement. “His experience was instrumental in assuring the safety and well-being of our people, maintaining a high quality of service to our clients, and ensuring we didn’t lose focus on strengthening our culture. OMD USA is a more connected and emphatic organization thanks to his leadership,” Pardo added.

An international background

Hanson is a U.S. citizen who grew up in Hong Kong and the U.K., and her career has been similarly international in nature. She came to OMD in 2005, filling strategy roles for the next seven years at OMD UK, EMEA and USA and eventually earning the title of global strategy director.

She left the Omnicom network for four years and returned in 2016 to lead the Sony Pictures Entertainment business as global managing partner.

Hanson was part of the global task force that re-engineered OMD’s global go-to-market strategy, and her focus on data-driven planning led to sharpening the agency planning process OMD Design. Under her strategic leadership, new business skyrocketed. Her promotion to CSO in 2018 coincided with the agency hitting a new business stride.

Adweek awarded OMD its global media agency of the year award, recognizing its 2019 comeback. The agency is at a similar inflection point now, having been named the top U.S. agency by 2021 billings by COMvergence. When evaluating at the group level, however, Publicis Media led 2021 new business.

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