Holmes Report 28 Feb 2014 // 4:52PM GMT
NEW YORK—MSLGroup has hired former eBay VP Paul Newman as its third North American head in less than three years, following Renee Wilson's decision to step down from the position last month.
Newman was most recently VP of communications at eBay, which is an MSLGroup client via PayPal. He joins the agency at the end of March.
Wilson stepped down after less than 18 months as North American president, following the departure of Jim Tsokanos in 2012. Wilson cited a desire for more family flexibility, returning to her position as chief client officer on MSLGroup's global board.
With this hire, MSLGroup CEO Olivier Fleurot will be hoping that the turnover in US leadership is over. "To be fair, I thought Renee would be there for many years and it caught me by surprise -- but I wanted to keep her with us," Fleurot told the Holmes Report. "I hope Paul stays around for many years."
Fleurot added that, despite expansion in North America, MSLGroup remains "proportionally small" in the region, accounting for 30% of its global revenues.
"In that respect we have to do a lot more in the US," he said. "The reason we made the proposal to Paul is because he’s worked in New York, London and the Middle East and we’re trying to build a very global network."
"Having someone from North America who can understand what his colleagues are doing around the world is very useful."
Prior to joining eBay, Newman was head of communications at Novartis Vaccines and before that led global external relations for Gillette. He began his PR career at Weber Shandwick, where he spent 14 years working in several of the agency's worldwide offices.
"I’ll build on the great work that Renee and the leadership have done and the great clients that they have won," Newman told the Holmes Report. "I’d like to see us be even stronger on digital and social --- especially coming from eBay, that has been an online pioneer for 13 years. And I would also like to focus on content, telling stories that matter."