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John Wren - CEO of Omnicom - Winner of the Most Respected CEOs - CEO Q - CEO Awards - Top CEOs, Best CEOs

John Wren
CEO of Omnicom

The Advertising CEO

Company Profile

Industry: Advertising  Services
Employees: 63,000
Revenues: $12B
Market Cap: $11.8B


John Wren, 58, is the President and CEO of Omnicom Group Inc., the leading global marketing and corporate communications company. He was named CEO in 1997 and elected President in 1996. Under his direction, Omnicom, founded in 1986, has become as a world-class company with the best corporate and divisional management in the advertising and marketing communications industry as well as the leading brands in marketing, including BBDO, DDB, Fleishman-Hillard, Interbrand, Ketchum, OMD, PHD, Porter Novelli, Rapp and TBWA.

Mr. Wren entered the advertising business in 1984, joining Needham Harper Worldwide as an executive vice president. As part of the team that created Omnicom in 1986, he was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Diversified Agency Services division of Omnicom in 1990. He was responsible for growing this division into the holding companyís largest operating group, comprised of companies in a wide array of disciplines ranging from public relations to branding.

He has championed the companyís investment in the recruitment and development of talent through several key programs, including Omnicom University, an in-house global leadership development faculty. It forms the core of Omnicom's commitment to attract, retain and motivate talent.

Wren is involved with a number of philanthropic activities. A member of the Board of Directors of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc., he is also a Vice-Chairman of Continuum Health Partners, the third-largest healthcare system in the New York Metropolitan area, and the Chairman of Long Island College Hospital. Mr. Wren is, in addition, a Trustee of the Arthur Ashe Foundation and active in healthcare education for disadvantaged communities. He has received numerous accolades, including the Gold Medal Award from the Catholic Youth Organization and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, for his many philanthropic contributions to the community.

CEO Insights

Our relative success on each of [our business] mandates can be directly correlated to the full suite of skills our management teams bring to their agencies. Excellence in all aspects of business management is an ongoing priority and a core strategic advantage for Omnicom. For more than a decade and a half, we have invested in formalizing and disseminating our collective business knowledge through advanced education programs, seminars and conferences - John Wren, CEO of Omnicom Group

The story of 2009 was one of balance. It was about how Omnicomís leading portfolio of global advertising and marketing brands, balanced by geography and discipline, withstood the worst global recession in the Companyís history. It was about the remarkable job our agencies did of balancing the need to manage costs with the need to maintain the high quality of services they provide to clients...Perhaps most importantly, it was about how Omnicom was able to balance the short-term response to our difficult economic environment with a long-term strategy to grow our exceptional portfolio of businesses and take advantage of the many opportunities that economic recovery will offer - John Wren, CEO of Omnicom Group

We challenged our agencies to align costs with anticipated decreases in revenue. We challenged them to do far more with much less, while also adjusting their offerings to better meet the needs of clients in a rapidly evolving digital environment. - John Wren, CEO of Omnicom Group

As we look at individual countries and regions, we are cautiously optimistic about continued global recovery (in 2010), although we expect significant variation by region...On the cost front, we continued to keep a close eye on costs and have asked our agencies to remain mindful of the potential risk to the economy...At the same time, our agencies are now increasingly focused on taking advantage of growth opportunities, both through new business efforts as well as growing our existing client accounts - John Wren, CEO of Omnicom Group

Our business is built on the strength of our management teams and the talented professionals around the world. They have worked extremely hard to help us navigate through last year...We adjust our incentives (bonuses) based upon what the outlook is. Itís done at least once a quarter where we look at that and we make whatever adjustments are appropriate - John Wren, CEO of Omnicom Group

We intended to use our strong balance sheet to increase our dividend, buyback stocks, and make strategic acquisitions - John Wren, CEO of Omnicom Group

The beautiful thing about Omnicom is that no single client is that significant. There are a lot of clients. Itís not that we have five major clients and we are tracking our progression against those five - John Wren, CEO of Omnicom Group

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