One of the world’s leading authorities on the media business, Irwin Gotlieb is WPP’s Senior Advisor and the former Global CEO and Chairman of GroupM, WPP’s media investment management company. Irwin’s success driving brand growth for clients and expanding the capabilities of WPP’s media agencies powered outstanding growth for WPP during his tenure and made GroupM the world’s leading investment group on client billings and revenue.
An innovator and pioneer, Irwin built the first U.S. spinout of standalone media agency (MediaVest, 1993). In 1999, he joined WPP as the first Chairman & Global CEO for Mindshare Worldwide, founding the global network and creating Mindshare North America from JWT’s and Ogilvy’s consolidated media resources. When WPP acquired and merged CIA with Mediaedge (forming Mediaedge: CIA, later MEC), Irwin created GroupM to harness the scale of WPP’s growing portfolio of media specialists, and became its first global CEO.
Irwin’s early career started in 1970 at Norman Craig & Kummel, then SSC&B, then Benton & Bowles (1977). This journey culminated in his founding of MediaVest (1999).
Irwin is the first media agency executive inducted to the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame (2017) and the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame (2007). Ad Age twice named Irwin a ‘Media Maven,’ and in 2000, they proclaimed him ‘Media Player of the Year’ (the only person ever to receive this honor).
Adweek named Irwin to their first-ever ‘Power List’ (2015), a ranking of the 100 most influential, innovative and effective leaders in media and technology. This follows their naming him an “All Star” three times (Adweek/Mediaweek). And, TV Week also recognized Irwin among the media’s top 25 most influential leaders (2007).
In 2006, New York magazine named Irwin one of the most influential businessmen in New York and the most influential person in advertising.