May 2004: WPP set the cat among the pigeons in April 2003, when it launched Group M to combine the leverage of its media agencies. Omnicom responds with the launch of OPera, pooling the clout of OMD and PHD. It is headed by Marc Bignell and John Overend.
July 2005: One of OPera's founding directors had been Jonathan Gillespie, who had moved over from OMD to handle its engagement with the commercial radio market. When he resigns in 2005, he reveals he has never felt comfortable in the role and is now looking to work in a new field (he eventually joins Google). Bignell and Overend say they can now do Gillespie's job as well as their own.
June 2006: As OPera's joint chairman, the PHD boss Tess Alps had played a small role in its evolution. She quits in April 2006 to become the chief executive of Thinkbox. In June, Adam Crow, OPera's press director, resigns. Overend and Bignell plan to do his job too.
January 2008: But digital is a different matter. Bignell and Overend had launched OPera Digital in June 2006 - now they bring in Adam Pace to run it. Pace had headed up digital at OMD and had previously been an account director at i-level. He's charged with developing the group's digital trading strategy and the application of best practice across all group agencies.
July 2010: Bignell now moves up to become the buying director for Omnicom Media Group across the EMEA region, working to Johan Boserup and Colin Gottlieb, respectively OMG's global head of trading and its EMEA chief executive. Bignell is tasked with developing best buying practice and accountability in key European markets. Adam Turner, PHD's head of investment, moves to OPera to work alongside Overend.
Fast forward ...
December 2012: And when Gottlieb becomes the commercial director at the Championship club Tottenham Hotspur, Omnicom announces he will not be directly replaced and that Bignell's role has been further enlarged as trading becomes increasingly vital. With Overend being drafted in to advise on international trading issues, there's also speculation that Boserup may not be expected to attend quite so many EMEA meetings from now on.