As Kirk McDonald, North America CEO of WPP’s media buying group GroupM, exits the role after three years, his interim replacement has been urging advertisers not to overlook brand-building.

McDonald’s exit was confirmed by several news outlets this week. Mindshare’s global CEO Adam Gerhart will fill the role in the interim while GroupM searches for a full-time replacement.

According to a memo obtained by Variety, Gerhart told staff:

“I understand leadership transitions can be difficult. Know that I, and the rest of our leadership team in North America, are committed to moving forward and upholding the legacy of leadership, industry stewardship, and client service that have made GroupM such a force in marketing and advertising.”

We are republishing Beet.TV’s interview with Gerhart from May 2023, when, before heading to Cannes Lions, Gerhart urged brands not to devote all their attention to performance-driven advertising channels:

“There’s been this mindset over the last 18 months in particular that’s really heightened around short-term performance outcomes.

“We’ve got big brands and big businesses that are starting to actually see it take an impact and some ramifications on brand equity.”

Gerhart told us that many companies believed their brand equity was now being hurt by overly committing to performance at the expense of brand-building. “That’s not sustainable over the long-term,” he said.