Merger of mPlatform with Essence’s 2Sixty will have ‘no impact’ on people, says GroupM

GroupM announced that it will be bringing together its data and insights division mPlatform and Essence’s machine learning and software development unit 2Sixty in a new, unified technology organisation which is yet to be named.

In response to a query from Mumbrella about how it was likely to affect the Asia region, GroupM chief operating officer Mark Patterson said: “There is no ‘disbanding’ of mPlatform as such – there is a merger with 2Sixty.

“In Asia-Pacific it will be a rebrand. There will be no impact on people.”

Elaborating on the changes, a global spokesperson for GroupM said: “mPlatform capabilities are very well deployed globally in over 50 markets, including the Asian markets in which we operate. These capabilities continue in Asia without interruption and will be expanded as the mPlatform and 2Sixty organisations come together globally.”

The spokesperson said that mPlatform was not being “disbanded” as had initially been reported in the trade press. He said: “This was a source of confusion in the original reporting of our organisational changes. mPlatform is not being disbanded – it is being merged with Essence’s 2Sixty to create a new, unified technology organisation to support GroupM agencies and their clients.

“Only the brand name is being retired as the two organisations come together. A new name will be announced in due course.  This is about making our offering in data and technology capabilities even stronger.”

Addressing the impact the merger would have on Asia, the spokesperson said: “The shared services delivered to clients through mPlatform are unaffected in the reorganisation and these internal changes will be seamless to clients.

Asked about potential redundancies, he said: “This is not part of our plans.”

The rebrand happens at a time of several significant changes at GroupM globally, including the promotion of Mark Patterson from Asia-Pacific CEO and chairman of China to global chief operating officer.

Other key personnel changes include Essence’s co-founder and chairman Andrew Shebbeare taking over as 2Sixty’s CEO and interim chief technology officer at GroupM. Shebbeare will play a close role in combining mPlatform and 2Sixty into a unified organisation. A statement form GroupM said: “Permanent leadership will be announced later.”

Former global COO Colin Barlow is now global president of GroupM Services leading the services side of mPlatform. A note from the company said: “GroupM Services is now officially a distinct team responsible for supporting our agencies with the deepest expertise and capability using the platforms that matter most to our clients.”

Former CEO of the performance media group Brian Gleason has been promoted to chief commercial officer. A note from GroupM said: Brian will lead an expanded portfolio of specialty businesses, working closely with our technology organisation to solve tough challenges for clients: Xaxis, Finecast, Motion Content Group, Kinetic and a new business aimed at helping our clients who want help with in-housing (more soon).

“We need an environment within GroupM were our entrepreneurial, and high-growth businesses will continue to thrive, and this will be Brian’s focus.”


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