IPG Mediabrands's unit MBThree is to be absorbed back into UM Melbourne bringing MBThree staff back in house.
The unit was set up two years ago to service Coles when the retailer was pushing harder into general merchandise and clothing. That brought UM into conflict with UM clients Kmart and Target and MBThree was spun out.
Since then Mediabrands has opened a local office of global agency BPN up and running.
The move bolsters UM Melbourne's fire power at a time when some clients including L'Oreal are pitching business.
Mediabrands boss Henry Tajer said the move “made sense as we plan for future growth" and that it "doubled the size" of UM Melbourne.
The combined unit will report jointly to UM national CEO Mat Baxter and Peter Butler, who has been managing director of MBThree since its launch. Butler will take on a new role of managing director of IPG Mediabrands’ Melbourne operations, a new position.
The day-to-day operations of the new UM Melbourne will be led by three joint managing partners, which are also new positions. Kim Lion (managing director of UM Melbourne) will manage the commercial aspects of the agency; Alex Smith (general manager, MBThree) will oversee client relationships and David Hearn (head of strategy at UM Melbourne) will lead strategy across the business.
Baxter said UM Melbourne would “benefit significantly from the merger”.
Butler said a re-unified UM Melbourne “will have much greater scale and resources than two agencies working in parallel. This is good news for our clients”.
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