IPG Mediabrands’ Leigh Terry and Mark Coad on why they’re moving beyond media to data and an adtech-martech mashup

February 23, 2020 | Share this article

New Australian CEO Mark Coad and APAC boss Leigh Terry want to diversify beyond media via the data and tech capabilities at Acxiom and a new 100-strong martech and data platform, Kinesso. The former Omnicom duo dispute that media agencies are troubled – theirs anyway.  And then there’s Coronavirus….

There’s a lot of sharp, nuanced insight in the podcast that adds depth to the text below. So get ahead of the curve and go deeper. Listen here.

Switching codes

IPG Mediabrands Australia CEO, Mark Coad, and his new boss, Leigh Terry, go back a long way. Both were seen as dyed in the wool Omnicomers, until Terry was wooed by then IPG global CEO Henry Tajer in 2016 to become Asia Pacific CEO.

After Danny Bass stepped down from IPG Australia last February, Terry took the reins as caretaker before moving for then PHD CEO Coad. Along with Peter Horgan, Coad and Terry formed the leadership axis at Omnicom Media Group, laying foundations that enabled the group to weather local headwinds better than most holding groups.

Now they are aiming to repeat the trick.

No stress

Terry says it was an easy decision to hire Coad, who he says has a unique “ability to absorb stress” and shield his teams from the worst impacts of pressure. The culture they built at OMG is something both are hoping to replicate.

“We’ve worked together, we know how we work together,” says Terry. “His ability to create calmness within a team, create a direction and also have a bit of fun along the way were what I enjoyed most of our time working together. So I know that he can do that and I know he’s going to have a ball doing it at IPG.”

Terry says the group did not have to rush to appoint a CEO because of the strength of the agencies, as evidenced by a string of recent wins, including David Jones, K-Mart, Goodman Fielder, Swinburne University, Deliveroo and Aussie home loans.

As such, Coad thinks IPG requires incremental improvement and strategic oversight rather than wholesale change.

“The business does not require surgery. It’s poised; it’s got momentum, it’s got really good leadership” says Coad. “But there’s work to be done in terms of arranging what we’ve got, setting some direction, providing some support to the leaders that are there.”

Improve those aspects, he says, “and I think we’ll go a whole lot further,”

Of his own situation and change of allegiance, Coad says the timing was right, and his work was mostly done.

“I’ve always worked in environments where I’ve tried to leave them in a better place than I found them.  That’s an internal mantra of mine and I just felt that we’ve achieved that and it was time for someone else to have a swing,” says Coad. “Where to go [next] had been rattling around in my head for the last six months. When the opportunity came up, it was a no-brainer.”