WPP Consultancy Gain Theory Hires Former Unilever VP as Its North American CEO

Shawn O'Neal will help lead global operations

O'Neal also worked at McKinsey as an analyst. Gain Theory
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Gain Theory, the “global marketing effectiveness consultancy” launched by WPP in 2015 as a combination of London’s Ohal and the Bangalore-based firm Meritus, has hired a longtime analyst and veteran executive to lead its North American operations.

Shawn O’Neal arrives at the company’s New York office after serving as vp of global data marketing and analytics at CPG giant Unilever.

Armed with more than two decades of experience as an analyst and data specialist, he will report directly to worldwide CEO Manjiry Tamhane and work with global leaders to put the agency’s strategy into action.

O’Neal helped launch Unilever’s People Data Centers, which pioneered “social listening” for brands. The project most famously led to the insight that ice cream is often a “premeditated purchase,” meaning Ben & Jerry’s ads would be more effective on weekdays. Today, the PDC employs 250 in 25 locations around the world.

Prior to leading Unilever’s data marketing efforts, he was director of analytics for the Americas and held top sales positions after being recruited from McKinsey, where he was an analyst. O’Neal also consulted for PepsiCo.

“Today, there’s an overflow of information and a complexity in marketing measurement solutions that makes it difficult for business decision makers to choose the right paths in their digital transformation journey,” said O’Neal in a statement, describing Gain Theory as “extremely well-placed to help business leaders make better, faster, more efficient decisions every day.”

“Shawn is a highly experienced innovator in the field of advanced analytics and has proven experience in providing strategic consultancy advice to clients,” said Tamhane. “He has the ability to connect the dots between business needs, data and action for growth.”

@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.
Publish date: September 6, 2018 https://dev.adweek.com/agencies/wpp-consultancy-gain-theory-hires-former-unilever-vp-as-its-north-american-ceo/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT