Neligan will take the role of managing partner and will cover the client responsibilities of Tom George, Zenith-Optimedia's deputy managing director, who is joining Mediaedge:cia as its managing director.
Since leaving CIA UK in December 2001, Neligan has run his own consultancy called Mcubed. He left CIA as part of a restructure conducted by its then chief executive, Fiona McAnena, as it merged with The Media Edge.
Neligan was also CIA's broadcast director but will not assume overall responsibility for TV trading at ZenithOptimedia. This part of George's role will pass to the chief executive, Antony Young.
Young said: "Tim brings a tremendous level of senior agency and management experience to the agency."
Neligan said: "ZenithOptimedia has an ambitious new, young management team that is ready for a challenge. It has a strong proposition and wants to create a real point of difference."