Marco Girelli, CEO, OMG speaks to Prima Online on how to communicate in a crisis
20 April 2020

This article was originally published by Prima Comunicazione and has been translated into English.

The Omnicom Media Group in Milan had prepared “an adaptive strategy, elaborated by the group’s board and supported by a crisis committee”, even before the government announced everyone had to start working from home. This interview shares how OMG’s CEO and chairman, Marco Girelli, has experienced the recent events around the coronavirus.

He explains: “We already had maximum flexibility and freedom in deciding whether to work from home or in the office”. Then came Giuseppe Conte’s decree and the lockdown rules were extended to the whole of Italy. “We planned smart working for the 450 people at the headquarters, but now we are also preparing to decide on Verona and Rome”.

When we spoke to him, Girelli had just finished talking on the phone with the APAC and EMEA CEO, Mike Cooper. “The group is supporting us for all the practical things. We need to face this delicate phase as calmly as possible, starting with the enhancement of IT. The truth is that our world leaders are very curious as to how we are equipping ourselves, what solutions we are preparing and with which organisational and logical methods we move. In the end, we function as an important pilot experience in managing this critical situation” says Girelli. This prepared the ‘crisis committee’ that supports the board of the Italian group according to a precise ratio: “The task force also calls into question our IT, human resources specialists, as well as privacy issues, which are very sensitive in events like this”.

How is the company coping with working from home?

The CEO is satisfied with how things are proceeding: “Everything is working well so far. Customers and all market interlocutors are decidedly collaborative because they all have the same difficulties to overcome”.

“The consultancy aspect and problem solving is almost always the result of teamwork, contamination of experiences and sharing of knowledge, and so it has become increasingly important to be able to articulate complex work groups. Being able to keep this part of our service remotely alive and effective required additional creative and organizational effort”.

According to Girelli, it is essential that people “keep a hierarchy of priorities clear and understand what is most relevant and what is least”.

What impact do you think this will have on the future of the market?

“I’m confident and hope that everything will be resolved before the summer. With the contribution of everyone, personal and collective, we will be able to stop the infection. I have the feeling that in that the end of the crisis could be as sudden and quick as the way it arrived. We were among the first to enter this nightmare and we could be among the first to come out of it. I have faith that there will be a positive reaction from everyone when this emergency is over and there will be a widespread desire to try new things”.


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