Q&A: CEO Mark Penn Reveals His Plans for MDC Companions’ Tradition, Purchasers and Billion-Greenback Debt

This week, MDC Companions lastly ended its long-running seek for a brand new chief when Mark Penn’s Stagwell Group confirmed that it might spend $100 million to purchase just below 30 % of the holding group.

Penn will now add MDC CEO to his appreciable resume, which incorporates head of WPP’s PR agency Burson-Marsteller, Microsoft chief technique officer, political pollster who invented the controversial “soccer mothers” demographic, and adviser to Invoice and Hillary Clinton who led the latter’s unsuccessful 2008 presidential run.

The day after his new function turned official, Adweek spoke to Penn about his plans to accomplice the 2 portfolios, handle the numerous disparate properties inside and handle the monetary challenges that took MDC’s inventory worth from $22 to $2.32 in lower than two years.

Adweek: Why do you’re feeling that now’s the time to put money into promoting businesses, given current modifications within the trade?
Mark Penn: Individuals have gotten a little bit bit over their skis when it comes to declaring that promoting businesses are lifeless. The massive holding corporations from a era sooner than MDC have much more legacy properties, and so they hit a slowdown of development in tv media whereas digital media continues to develop at double digits. I believe, in actuality, the belongings that MDC has had been being undervalued, as a result of prime stage creativity, even when it’s going to be purchased in additional environment friendly items, continues to be going to be probably the most extremely prized asset.

“The holding corporations are both going to take a look at the middle as an asset that may be actually useful or as … a bureaucratic nightmare.”

I believe that, by balancing out the burden throughout pure creativity and media and different providers, it’s truly a rising trade that’s being masked by the truth that a few of the segments and a few of the providers are shrinking.

Stagwell has been buying smaller businesses throughout the nation for a number of years. Do you propose to strategy the brand new funding in the identical manner? How will the 2 portfolios work collectively?
They’re mid-size businesses with development potential who dealt with A-list purchasers and achieved 18 % natural development final 12 months. They’re extremely complementary [with MDC] as a result of they don’t have the type of giant scale, top-tier relationships that MDC has.

We need to carry a few of the good metrics we’ve achieved with Stagwell and with my expertise operating businesses; that’s the place I believe there’s room for enchancment when it comes to monetary efficiency. However once you take a look at the 2 units [of companies], hopefully they’ll discover worth in one another. At Stagwell I’ve been capable of foster that type of tradition, and I discovered at WPP it was sorely missing. So I hope to increase the extent of cooperation and collaboration inside the businesses in MDC.

Might you elaborate on that remark a couple of lack of collaboration at WPP?
Sure, we typically seen the opposite businesses as sharp-elbowed opponents.

How will your expertise as a political advisor and client-side government inform your new function at MDC?
I believe that my expertise is throughout enterprise, beginning as a founder and rising a big company [Burson-Marsteller], then managing giant belongings. It’s additionally precise skilled expertise and polling and messaging, , creating issues like “soccer mothers” or, in promoting, creating some quite memorable campaigns. I hope to carry to bear these twin points of my expertise.

The holding corporations are both going to take a look at the middle as an asset that may be actually useful or as a drag, a hindrance and a bureaucratic nightmare. I’m hoping that we could be of the asset and the assistance facet of that quite sharp divide.

Did you meet with many of the heads of MDC’s businesses earlier than you agreed to this deal?
I’ve met quite a few them by way of my skilled expertise, but when we’d held a collection of conferences like that, I don’t suppose the story would have held so long as it did.

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