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More change at GroupM as Essence names new COO and North America CEO

Changing of the guard at GroupM’s Essence brings new COO and North America CEO

WPP owned GroupM has extended its leadership shake-up with the elevation of Steve Williams as its global chief operating officer at its data and measurement division Essence, with Jason Harrison replacing him as North America chief executive.

The latest senior appointments followed Kyoko Matsushita being named as the new global chief executive for Essence, replacing Christian Juhl who was given the top job at GroupM after Kelly Clark's stepped down.

In his latest role, Williams will assume oversight of Essence’s business operations and international expansion, a reward for his role in drawing new business and transforming Essence from a programmatic specialist to a full-service media agency.

Williams only joined Essence as CEO as recently as last year and has a background in TV buying accrued from time spent with BBDO and DDB London, before moving to OMD UK. Latterly Williams moved to New York in 2012 to accept the role of US president at Omnicom’s PHD before assuming the mantle of CEO of WPP’s Maxus.

For his part, Harrison will be handed responsibility for heading Essence’s principal business relationships as well as housekeeping for 800 employees spread across seven offices.

Speaking to AdAge, Harrison said: “I see my role as a continuation of the good work that has already been done; nurturing a culture and place that people want to be a part of. That's a huge responsibility and I take that very seriously."

The changes at the top come just 24 hours after The Drum revealed that Jurgen Blomenkjamp, CEO of GroupM Germany, was to retire as soon as a successor could be found, drawing his 33-year career at the company to a close.

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