Interbrand chief executive Michael Birkin is to replace Peter Jones as head of Omnicom’s Diversified Agency Services (DAS) in Europe.
Jones will remain as president of DAS – the fastest-growing part of the Omnicom empire – but devote more of his attention to the US.
Birkin becomes European director at the end of April.
The move will accelerate a succession process that observers believe will culminate in Omnicom president Bruce Crawford retiring in the next 12 months, to be replaced by DAS worldwide chairman John Wren. Wren would then be succeeded by his deputy, Jones.
“It all depends on Crawford and his intentions,” says one Omnicom insider.
Birkin refused to comment on the moves, which he describes as a “premature” disclosure.
DAS acts as an umbrella company for interests ranging from publishing to public relations, direct marketing and design.
It has been very active in the acquisitions market in recent years. DAS bought Interbrand for Omnicom 14 months ago.
At the moment, the bulk of DAS business comes from the US. The firm plans to redress the balance and wants Europe to contribute 50 per cent in the future. Birkin will be responsible for achieving this objective.