SAN FRANCISCO — Edelman SVP Sean Mills is returning to Bite as GM of North America, three months after CEO Andy Cunningham stepped down as the agency’s US and global head.
Mills, who started this week, is responsible for Bite’s North American P&L and reports to Next 15 CEO Tim Dyson, who has been acting CEO since Cunningham’s departure. Before joining Edelman in 2011, Mills worked at Bite for seven years in several roles, including GM of its New York office.
While Mills plans to relocate to Bite’s San Francisco office in November, until then, he’ll serve as interim head of its New York office. Ryan Wallace, who was promoted as head of New York under Cunningham, left Bite to become VP at MWW in July.
“I’m committed to the business until I feel like it’s at a good point to hand off to a [global] CEO,” Dyson said. “In order to do that, I had to get the US business into the right shape and this is an important step to doing that.”
Along with Mills’ appointment, several other changes are being rolled out that will structure Bite North America more like its European counterpart. For one, Alisa MacDonnell, SVP and GM of Bite San Francisco, has been tasked with additional duties as head of client services in a role that reflects Rachel Gilley’s post in the UK. Also mirroring EMEA, Bite is creating a talent management/development and HR post in the US.
“When I came in, I wanted us to focus on doing a few things very well,” Dyson said. “This means, making sure we have the right people in the right roles serving the right clients. We had been guilty of taking on customers just for the revenues. Now we’re focusing on clients we know we can do great work for.”
For instance, MacDonnell’s client services role will entail mapping ideal relationships with clients against existing realities, followed by activating a plan to eliminate the gaps.
These changes come after considerable turmoil following several leadership changes at Bite. Most recently, in the wake of Cunningham leaving, Bite endured several senior departures. Among them, Victoria Graham, GM of digital solutions, left in July to become a consultant, for which a replacement is being sought. Additionally, SVP Bill Danon left in June to become a senior PR manager at Autodesk.