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PHD Hires MediaMonks’ Melissa Wisehart as Chief Media Officer

October 25, 2023 | By Jessica Heygate

EXCLUSIVE: Omnicom Media Group is revitalizing the role across its agencies with the aim of better connecting its capabilities.

PHD USA has hired MediaMonks’ Melissa Wisehart as chief media officer, with a remit to unite the strategic and analytics parts of media planning and tap into the full breadth of parent network Omnicom Media Group’s (OMG) capabilities.

Chief executive Michael Solomon described Wisehart’s role as “the point where all capabilities are aggregated into a single view for our clients’ business growth.”

Wisehart’s appointment is effective immediately, and she reports directly to Solomon. She is Solomon’s first C-suite hire since he was promoted to CEO in May.

She joins from a similar role as global head of media for MediaMonks, where she led a global practice of nearly 2,000 media and measurement professionals, according to her LinkedIn.

Wisehart was previously a digital investment, technology and analytics lead at Atlanta-based independent agency 22Squared and a managing director at Tallahassee-based Moore.

Hers is the second chief media officer appointment at an OMG agency in a matter of weeks — after OMD hired the head of Amazon’s in-house agency Suhaila Hobba in the same role earlier this month — and will be followed by a third appointment at Hearts & Science later this month.

Both PHD and OMD have had chief media officers before. PHD’s first U.S. chief media officer, Anthony Koziarski, left in April 2021 to relocate to the U.K. and later joined Snap as global agency lead.

OMD’s chief media officer role was previously held by George Manas, who was promoted to global CEO of OMD Worldwide in November 2021.

OMG North America CEO Ralph Pardo said he is revitalizing the chief media officer role to sit on top of specialist functions and better connect Omnicom’s capabilities in broader solutions for clients.

“The pressure on clients to simultaneously manage brand value, customer growth and loyalty is a significant challenge. Legacy-siloed solutions built for specialization can no longer meet clients’ needs; clients need mature capabilities and partners that can connect media, content and commerce to drive sales and grow share,” Pardo said.

“Our chief media officers are multi-disciplinary practitioners, they are experts in multiple areas and work with our teams to bring our vast capabilities together to unlock valuable benefits for our clients,” he added.

Pardo was previously U.S. CEO of Hearts & Science.

Having more consistent roles across OMG’s media agencies also forms part of the network’s new ‘agency as a platform’ positioning, where clients are able to more flexibly choose which of OMG’s agencies or solutions to invest in and individual agencies can draw upon talent and resources from across the network.

Solomon added that Wisehart’s role will be “very different” to PHD’s prior chief media officer.

“Kozi’s [ Koziarski’s] role was purely on the activation side, responsible for raising the bar on digital platforms, which now in 2023, is pretty status quo,” Solomon said. “The chief media officer’s role in 2023 is more reflective of the way the marketplace and the relationship between OMG and its agencies has changed in the past two years. That means Melissa [Wisehart] will be focused on aligning the full range of our capabilities to enable seamless consumer connections, powered by OMG technology.”

PHD is leading the $600 million Uber account awarded to OMG in September.