This week, MDC Partners finally ended its long-running search for a new leader when Mark Penn’s Stagwell Group confirmed that it would spend $100 million to buy just under 30 percent of the holding group.
Penn will now add MDC CEO to his considerable resume, which includes head of WPP’s PR firm Burson-Marsteller, Microsoft chief strategy officer, political pollster who invented the controversial “soccer moms” demographic, and adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton who led the latter’s unsuccessful 2008 presidential run.
The day after his new role became official, Adweek spoke to Penn about his plans to partner the two portfolios, manage the many disparate properties within and address the financial challenges that took MDC’s stock price from $22 to $2.32 in less than two years.
Mark Penn: People have gotten a little bit over their skis in terms of declaring that advertising agencies are dead.
I think, in reality, the assets that MDC has were being undervalued, because top level creativity, even if it’s going to be bought in more efficient units, is still going to be the most highly prized asset.
"The holding companies are either going to look at the center as an asset that can be really helpful or as ... a bureaucratic nightmare."