Rob Norman has decided to retire from his full-time role as global Chief Digital officer of GroupM after 31 years with CIA, MEC and GroupM, effective January 2018. Norman will remain an advisor to the media investment group of WPP and its clients, with a reduced workload that allows him more time to pursue personal interests.
Before taking over the Chief Digital Officer role in 2012, Norman was CEO of GroupM North America. Prior to this, Norman had run GroupM Interaction, which oversaw operations, data processes and other tools for the group's media agencies' digital tasks.
“Happily, this is not goodbye. We thank Rob for his loyal service and for continuing to share his passion and vision for this business as GroupM and the industry continue to evolve,” said Kelly Clark, CEO, global Chief Executive Officer, GroupM. “Rob has been a fantastic partner to our clients, our people and our company, so I’m delighted that he will continue in an advisory capacity.”
“GroupM, WPP and before that CIA have been my work, my life and almost always my pleasure,” said Norman. “My friends in the business know that I’ve become very attached to a rural life and understand that after 31 years, it’s time to do other things. It’s a curiosity of our business that few people get to step back, yet stay involved; I’m honored that GroupM is allowing me to do exactly that.”
Norman sits on the advisory board of WPP Digital, the venture arm of GroupM parent company WPP, and is a member of the Board of Governors of the Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication. He also is on the board of the 4A’s, and the Ad Council and leads GroupM’s diversity efforts, including a scholarship program at City College New York.
Norman has worked for more than two decades in the media agency business in a wide range of increasingly senior roles, mostly at MEC, where he was named U.K. Chairman in 2003. He joined the company in 1986 prior to the merger, when the agency was known as CIA. He rose quickly through the ranks at CIA, first becoming a Group Head and then founding the company’s first joint venture media operation, which became the model for three subsequent ventures. In 2002, following the merger of CIA with Mediaedge, Norman was appointed Worldwide Director of New Business Development.
Norman lives in New York and is widely believed to be the only Englishman with a working knowledge of baseball’s infield fly rule. He is a fan of the New York Mets, the New York Jets, Tottenham Hotspur and Warren Buffett.