On November 1, when George Manas logged onto his computer for the first time as the new CEO of OMD Worldwide, as always the first thing he saw were the words that serve as his screen saver: “The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”
George can’t remember the first time he read this quote from 20th century nuclear physicist and Episcopal priest William Pollard – a unique dichotomy of interests similar to George’s own background as an American Literature PhD candidate turned digital media pioneer – but he offers them as the North Star for a career in which he has continuously challenged legacy models and successfully built new approaches, guided by the creative application of talent, tools and technology.
As President and Chief Media Officer of OMD USA, he defined the path for the agency’s evolution into a modern media agency that elevates the agency/client relationship from transactional to transformative. To meet this ambition, he expanded OMD’s offering providing clients with consultancy in their data, martech and in-housing strategies; and accelerated ecommerce solutions to help clients win a greater share of digital shopping wallets as the pandemic accelerated the shift to online purchasing.
Concurrent with expanding OMD’s offer, he also reinforced the agency’s commitment to empathy-based planning as the path to deeper understanding of multicultural perspectives in a polarized society, helping brands connect with consumers across cultural and societal barriers. And as the steward of the US rollout of OMD Design, he assured OMD’s capability to fully harness the power of Omni to orchestrate outcomes that drive business growth for our clients.
The impact of his efforts can be seen in OMD USA’s performance, both during the height of the pandemic and over the course of 2021 as the marketplace continues to grapple with economic and cultural disruption. Since June 2020, OMD USA has won close to $1b in new business, including Home Depot, Clorox, Georgia Pacific, Legal Zoom, Canva, Noom, Dr. Scholl’s and Soda Stream – and soon will be announcing another $400m win with the potential to expand to several global markets. His impact can further be seen in OMD USA’s return to the top position on the RECMA Diagnostics report, and its lock on the #1 position on the COMvergence billings report.
Commenting on his new role, George says, “Being entrusted to lead the organization that Flo and the entire leadership team have spent the past four years rebuilding, reimagining and restoring to its place at the top of the industry is both an incredible honor and awesome responsibility – and as a former English major, I mean ‘awesome’ in the traditional definition…”
He added, “The challenge moving forward is to not give in to the arrogance of our success – we must keep one eye on today’s solutions and the other on innovating for tomorrow’s disruption. Recognizing that innovation doesn’t have a set course – it can flow from west to east or east to west, from northern to southern hemisphere or vice versa – one of my first priorities will be to enable increased collaboration and knowledge sharing across the regions, surfacing innovation at the local and regional level today that can be scaled into a global offer that meets the increasingly complex challenges of tomorrow. “
Prior to joining OMD U.S., George was President of Omnicom Media Group’s Resolution performance agency where he led its evolution to a full-service global agency with specialism in search, social, programmatic and performance TV. Among the many “firsts” that he enabled during his tenure, he led the effort that made Resolution the first major agency to earn the coveted badge of Facebook Marketing Partner, followed by similar accomplishments with Google, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat and Amazon.
George’s success in unlocking new pathways to growth has earned him recognition from the industry, with accolades that included Adweek’s 50 Most Transformative Execs; AdAge’s 40 Under 40; and Adweek’s Media All-Stars. A “go-to” expert for many of the US top trade and business publications, his is a well-known voice addressing multiple aspects of the media landscape, including the convergence of retail and media, the rise of assistive technologies and the growing dominance of streaming platforms.
Summing up the assets that his hand-picked successor brings to the table, outgoing OMD Worldwide CEO – and new global CEO of Omnicom Media Group Florian Adamski says, “George has proven time and time again his ability to reimagine and rise to new challenges, contributing to Omnicom Media Group’s success over the past 10 years. As a digital native who helped build OMG’s capabilities across the entire spectrum of modern media services and solutions, he is ideally qualified to accelerate the outcome-driven work we are doing for our clients, and enhance our ability to attract the best talent. “