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Today, WPP’s Kantar announced the hiring of Reed Cundiff (pictured below) as CEO of the North American region, effective May 1. He hails from Microsoft, where he has spent the last 14 years.
Cundiff succeeds Wayne Levings, who is returning to the U.K. to continue in his role as head of global clients. He will report to Kantar CEO Eric Salama.
“Reed understands what it means to deliver for clients,” Salama said in a statement. “He is tech-savvy, entrepreneurial [and] a clear thinker who puts an emphasis on execution and accountability and has built strong teams that have performed at a high level.”
While at Microsoft, Cundiff first served as a senior director and then general manager of customer and market research. He is credited with leading a digital transformation of the tech giant’s customer and consumer insights unit and reshaping his team into an internal consulting group.
Prior to that, Cundiff held a series of roles in the tech space. He was a market analyst and consultant at Gartner and the Yankee Group, and he’s one of the founders of Compete, a market research company in Boston.
“Our industry is in the middle of a dynamic transformation, and I’m thrilled to work with the fantastic team at Kantar to build on what has already been done and to evolve and expand the way we deliver value to our clients,” Cundiff said in a statement. “I can’t wait to work with some of the brightest people in the industry, with a set of capabilities and an ability to scale like no other. Across the range of our offers, I believe we are uniquely positioned to succeed.”
The hire comes as WPP continues its effort to divest up to 80% of its 100% stake in the London-based consulting firm, which last week consolidated all of its various brands under the single Kantar name.
Last month, Reuters reported that bidders include private equity firms Advent, Blackstone and Bain. The Telegraph also reported earlier this week that buyout firm EQT, managed by wealthy Swedish family the Wallenbergs, had considered a $4.6 billion bid for Kantar.
Goldman Sachs is managing the sale process.