WPP’s Group M has recruited Marc Bignell to be global head of trading at the world’s biggest advertising buyer.
Bignell, who is British and will be based in London, spent 20 years at Omnicom Media Group, where he rose to be chief investment officer.
More recently, he was EMEA vice-president of Yahoo and chief commercial officer at Miroma Ventures, a media group specialising in investment and barter.
Group M said: "As most media channels become more addressable and biddable, Bignell’s broad experience in technology, data and negotiations across markets will ensure Group M’s buying power continues to deliver value for its clients."
Bignell will report to chief investment officer Nick Theakstone. The pair first worked together at London ad agency Boase Massimi Pollitt in the early years of their career.
Theakstone said Bignell is "a talented negotiator" with a "strategic and collaborative approach to deal-making" and "a track record of delivering creative commercial solutions to advertisers and media partners".
He added: "With many advertisers facing low-growth markets, increased competition and digital disruption, our agencies must deliver more value and greater efficiency for clients. This will be Marc’s focus."
WPP’s media buying agencies, which include MediaCom, Mindshare, Wavemaker and Essence, use Group M for trading, technology and data.
Like other media buying groups, Group M is having to adapt to an auction-based environment, where digital smarts, rather than just buying scale, are important.
Theakstone said: "We’re in a really complicated world where clients are asking a lot of different questions and we’ve got to have very bright, forward-thinking people like Marc, engaging with the biggest media owners and helping us to develop partnerships."
Bignell said: "My admiration for Group M goes beyond its scale. I’m excited to work with Nick and the broader investment team to extend its innovation and leadership in areas like measurement, viewability and brand safety."
He replaces Johan Boserup, who moved to Omnicom earlier this year.
Like Theakstone, who is also based in London, Bignell will be expected to travel widely in his global role, including North America, where Group M has its headquarters and parent company WPP has been struggling.
Group M has had a mixed record in recent months, winning Mars and Adidas and losing American Express, HSBC and some of GlaxoSmithKline in the past six months.
WPP said at last week’s third-quarter results that its media business "grew well in the quarter, perhaps a little bit softer than in previous quarters".