March 2004: OMD creates a new group structure encompassing OMD UK and Manning Gottlieb OMD. Nick Manning, the MG OMD chief executive, becomes the first chief executive of the group and will report to Colin Gottlieb, the chief executive of OMD Europe.
May 2004: OMD, led by Manning, is instrumental in driving the creation of Omnicom's buying unit OPera in the UK. Discussions between Manning and the PHD chairman, Tess Alps, lead to the green light for the operation, which will have billings of more than £1 billion. John Overend, the broadcast director at PHD, and Marc Bignell, OMD UK's head of TV, will run the operation as joint managing directors.
February 2005: Manning instigates a group restructure that sees the departure of Mark Palmer, the OMD strategy director, after eight years with the agency. The changes also involve a new focus on marketing the group, with the IPC Media director Sam Phillips joining as the first group marketing director. Toby Roberts steps up to take the top strategy role at OMD UK.
January 2007: Following the earlier resignation of Manning, the OMD UK managing director, Steve Williams, steps up to the OMD group chief executive role. He is replaced at OMD UK by his deputy managing director, Jonathan Allan. Manning formally leaves in April.
August 2007: OMD unveils a new planning structure. Under the banner of "Influence", it will involve its planners taking a more consumer-centric and ideas-led approach, rather than focusing on media channels to provide a solution. Influence is rolled out by OMD UK's Roberts and Jon Gittings, the executive director at MG OMD. It will then be taken to international markets.
Fast forward ...
April 2008: OMD looks to build its experiential and sports marketing credentials. It launches a group consultancy called Offside to consult on sports and entertainment opportunities for group clients. Its senior consultants are the former England cricketer Allan Lamb and the erstwhile Crackerjack host Stu Francis. Offside's reinvention of the It's a Knockout format for Sony Bravia goes on to win countless awards.