Type of agency
Number of UK staff
MEC had a year of consolidation - its absence on the new-business table belied all the things that went well behind the scenes. The agency, then under the co-chief executives, Jason Dormieux and Stuart Bowden, had gobbled up a slew of new business in 2014. They spent much of 2015 digesting it and defending key accounts, including HomeServe and Public Health England – both of which were retained... Read more
It was the merger that might never have happened. After beating Havas to buy Tempus (the owner of Chris Ingram Associates or CIA), WPP tried to pull out of the deal in late 2001, claiming the 57-strong network suffered a “material adverse change” following the 11 September attacks. The takeover panel wasn’t having any of it and so the WPP chief executive, Martin Sorrell, backed down, agreeing to honour the £432m million deal.
MEC was born on 1 January 2002, bringing together Tempus’ CIA and WPP’s The Media Edge to create Mediaedge:CIA. Although it might be difficult for those new to the industry to appreciate today, the agency was the young upstart of WPP. After a difficult merger and lacklustre start, MEC really got going after Tom George arrived as managing director. The agency also benefitted from the WPP new-business machine. By the end of the decade, Mediaedge:CIA had been named agency of the year by Campaign, Marketing (three times) and Media Week.
In July 2010, Mediaedge:CIA officially shortened its name to MEC, the name everyone used informally already. George stepped up to chairman in January 2011 as Steve Hatch became chief executive. Hatch left in March 2014 for Facebook and Jason Dormieux and Stuart Bowden, previously chief operating officer and managing director respectively, became co-CEOs. Earlier this year, however, Bowden moved to global chief strategy officer, leaving the likeable former economics teacher Dormieux (who had actually taught some of his colleagues in his former life) as the sole chief executive in the UK.
In February and March this year, MEC moved from a back street in Southwark to Sea Containers, the confident new building on the South Bank. The agency retains an enviable client list that includes Lloyds Banking Group, SAB Miller, Danone, Public Health England and EE. With a newly autonomous chief executive and a shiny new office, MEC will be hoping it can push on from a mixed 2015 – when it had to fight to retain a hefty chunk of business but won agency of the year at the Campaign Media Awards – into a new chapter.