Omnicom Taps Merkle Vet Megan Pagliuca As CEO Of Accuen, Replacing Josh Jacobs

MeganPagliucaAccuenAccuen has a new chief exec in the form of Megan Pagliuca, who comes to Omnicom Group’s trading desk after five years as general manager of digital media at Merkle.

Pagliuca replaces Josh Jacobs, who helmed Accuen for nearly four years before leaving in March. Jacobs later turned up as president of Kik Services, where he leads the Canadian messaging platform’s business development and ad offering.

Omnicom is looking to media buying through Accuen to help bring home the bacon. The holding company’s EVP and CFO Philip Angelastro told investors during its Q2 2015 earnings call that Accuen delivered $30 million in incremental growth, though from what base he didn’t say.

“We see a big opportunity for using that platform to drive growth and drive insights through the rest of our business, not just through the media business and programmatic space,” Angelastro said.

For her part, Pagliuca brings a solid ad tech pedigree to Accuen. During her time at Merkle, she helped launch and develop the CRM agency’s digital media practice, leading a team of more than 100 employees and managing around $100 million in media spend. Clients under her purview included Metlife, Tiffany & Co., Nestlé, Travelers and PNC Bank.

Previous to Merkle, she spent a number of years at Yahoo, coming on board through the company’s acquisition of Right Media in 2007.

Pagliuca has been vocal in the past about the lack of transparency in the current agency model, which she referred to in a previous AdExchanger column as “fundamentally broken in two ways” – one, the opacity around margins and, two, a “shortage in the knowledge, skills and competency required to leverage programmatic within the agency.”

Those talents, she said, “get siloed within the trading desk.”

Although marketers have begun to balk at the status quo, Pagliuca noted that the trend toward in-house programmatic is, in most cases, nothing more than marketers taking their media spend from agencies and turning it over to large DSPs.

“While I applaud marketers for pushing back … moving their services layer to buying platforms is not necessarily in their best interest, either,” she said. “Marketers should either build a true in-house capability or leverage a service provider that gives them the transparency and accountability that they require – either way, marketers should demand cost transparency and clarity in their data usage.”

Agency trading desks have been under fire recently as marketers voice their concerns around trust and transparency related to reported rebates. According to Morgan Stanley, there’s around $26 billion of media up for grabs as more than 20 of the world’s largest brands engage in an orgy of media reviews.

Accuen is one of two technology-driven business units under the Omnicom umbrella. The other is Annalect, Omnicom’s analytics arm, which provides a combination of analytics and consulting services.

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