OMD finds new chief product officer

OMD Australia has appointed Brian Cronk as the agency’s new chief product officer, replacing Penny Shell.

Cronk’s appointment is joined by two internal promotions that reflect the agency’s continued investment in its product team, building on its 2023 restructure that saw saw trading evolve to ‘investment strategy’ and digital to ‘transformation’ encompassing ‘performance’.

L-R: Brian Cronk, chief product officer, James Rawlings, group head of strategy for Melbourne and Brisbane, Lisa Leach, head of strategy in Sydney

Cronk will take up the role left open by Penny Shell, who departed the business late last year. Shell had been promoted from national head of planning to chief product officer in December 2021.

The appointment sees Cronk return to the Australian market after more than 15 years in the New York, where he has worked across strategy roles at the likes of BBH, Carat, Anomaly, Spark Foundry and Diageo. The appointment marks his second stint at OMD Australia, where he spent two years in the early 2000s.

Sian Whitnall, co-CEO of OMD Australia, said: “OMD’s chief product officer is a critical role for our partnerships, focused on delivering enhanced business outcomes for our clients through the development of integrated solutions leveraging the diverse capability within OMD.

“Brian brings to the role a wealth of marcom and experience design expertise that will support our clients as they continue to navigate a complex and fast evolving landscape. As a member of OMD’s national executive leadership team, Brian will lead our planning and strategic community whilst working closely with Marelle Salib, chief investment officer, and Alison Costello, chief transformation officer.”

Cronk added: “I’m inspired by the vision Sian and Laura have for OMD and their constant strive to challenge convention to create a collaborative and meaningful offering for client partners and the broader industry. Their passion but also their focus on the meaningful is partly what attracted me to return to OMD. I’m looking forward to
working with the incredibly talented OMD team to connect our client partners with the agency’s best-in-class offerings to solve for their marketing and future growth ambitions.”

The Omnicom Media Group agency has also elevated James Rawlings to group head of strategy for Melbourne and Brisbane, and Lisa Leach to head of strategy in Sydney.

These elevations recognise the significant contribution that both James and Lisa make to OMD’s product community, alongside OMD’s Head of Behaviour Change Peita Pacey, in driving market leading creative solutions
that challenge convention whilst consistently delivering growth for all our partners,” said Whitnall.

Rawlings commented: “I’m thrilled to take on this expanded role and broaden my remit across our Melbourne and Brisbane markets. Firstly, to build upon the amazing strategic capabilities of OMD to deliver for our clients, and
secondly to work with more closely with some of the most inspiring minds in our national product community.”

Leach added: “On the anniversary of five years with OMD, I’m excited to celebrate my next career step as Head of Strategy – Sydney. It has been a privilege to work with the brilliant OMD Suncorp team, alongside a highly
ambitious and collaborative client and with fantastic creative agency partners. I’m looking forward to bringing this experience to lead our strategic community across Sydney, augmenting our depth and scale with a challenger mindset, mentoring courageous thinking and exploring new ground.”

All appointments are effective immediately.


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