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Sebastian Rennie returns to Aus as GroupM chief investment officer

The leadership changes at GroupM have continued rolling in as a replacement for Nicola Lewis as chief investment officer has finally been named.

Sebastian Rennie is returning to the CIO position in Australia and New Zealand after spending three years in the role for GroupM Canada. Rennie will take up the local post in June.

Sebastian Rennie returns to Australia

The appointment of Rennie comes just days after MediaCom CEO Willie Pang was made managing director of GroupM services, taking the lead on the group’s global digital transformation strategy. In his place Yaron Farizon, currently CEO of MediaCom Russia and MediaCom Connections Israel, will become CEO of MediaCom AUNZ – also commencing his role on 1 June. Meanwhile, the hunt for a new CEO of GroupM for Australia and New Zealand is still on, following the departure of Mark Lollback in March.

Lewis left the business at the end of 2020 to take up the global chief growth officer position for Group M’s addressable TV business Finecast. While the search for her replacement was on, MediaCom’s Claire Butterworth was made interim general manager of investment.

During his time in Canada, Rennie was responsible for introducing new investment management technologies, launching and rolling out Fincecast as well as out-of-home business Kinetic. When Rennie takes over the investment leadership in Australia, he will oversee the GroupM investment and partnerships function, and be tasked with maximising the performance of the group’s media agencies. He will be working closely with Butterworth, the investment leads in each of GroupM’s agencies, chief technology and transformation officer Ryan Menezes, and the newly-promoted Pang.

Rennie was previously the CIO in Australia and New Zealand between 2015 and 2018. Prior to that he was in the same role at the group’s agency MEC – now known as Wavemaker.

“Seb is well-known and well-respected in the Australian media marketplace and perfectly placed to take on this high-profile role at the forefront of driving industry change, best practice and business growth. Seb is a world class operator in investment and partnerships, with strong relationships across Australian media, and a global perspective. We are pleased to welcome him back to the region for the next phase of his career with GroupM, after a successful and productive three years driving value for our clients in Canada,” said Ashutosh Srivastava, GroupM APAC CEO.

Rennie said: “I’m over the moon to be returning to Australia and taking up a leadership position with GroupM as the business transforms around a clear vision to be responsible for shaping the next era of media where advertising works better for people. It’s been a real pleasure to work with Stuart Garvie and the Canada team and our media partners to deliver clients unrivalled competitive advantage. I’m eager to get back to Australia and join the team to help enable the ongoing evolution of investment across GroupM’s agencies and products.”

While recent changes continue to be made, WPP AUNZ is in the midst of finalising its takeover by WPP following a vote by minority shareholders in favour of the bid two weeks ago.

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