Unilever agency team lead Soche Picard joins retail shop Arc to North American CEO

Unilever's agency-side team lead Sophie Picard joined P&G's retail marketing agency Arc as NA CEO / Arc Worldwide/Leo Burnett

Arc, Leo Burnett’s retail and shopper marketing agency, has announced that Soche Picard has joined the company as chief executive officer for North America.

Picard joined Arc from WPP’s Geometry Global, where she was both team lead for Unilever’s shopper division and managing director for the agency’s New York office.

In her new role, Picard will develop the commerce pillar of the agency's positioning platform, culture, context and commerce. She will also work to expand the current client base.

Picard has been reporting to Andrew Swinand, Leo Burnett Group’s North America chief executive. He said of the hire: “Her background blends executive leadership with a broad executional skillset that pairs seamlessly with our team’s strengths.” He continued, “Her deep and varied knowledge of the CPG space, coupled with her proven ability to lead an agency into continuous growth, makes her a uniquely perfect fit for this position.”

Picard’s hire comes as Karuna Rawal, who had been US president of Arc, is elevated to president, Groupe client lead – responsible for multiple accounts, including P&G’s shopper marketing.

P&G had been slashing costs for a majority of the year so far, pulling $400m from its advertising budget, about $200m from its digital ad spend alone, meaning shopper marketing becomes more of a focus for the CPG client. Marc Pritchard, P&G’s chief marketer had considered the spend on digital media over the past few years “wasted,” and looked to cut overall marketing spend by 20% in an effort to find out which executions are most efficient.

Picard and Geometry may have benefitted from the act of faith Unilever made in in-store advertising, shifting around $350m that it saved by pulling agency work in-house, and reinvesting it for in-store marketing and media buying.

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