GroupM acquires The Exchange Lab | M&M Global

GroupM acquires The Exchange Lab

WPP’s GroupM has announced the addition of The Exchange Lab and its proprietary programmatic marketing tech Proteus to its Connect portfolio, leading to James Aitken stepping down as CEO.


The acquisition aims to allow GroupM to expand efficient and objective measurement and allocation of marketing budgets across programmatic partners.

Executive chairman Chris Dobson will take on the role of chief executive officer following Aitken’s departure.

“We chose GroupM for the opportunity to join the world’s leading media investment group who is also the industry’s thought leader on digital advertising and the digitization of traditional media,” said Dobson.

“This will propel The Exchange Lab to new heights, and GroupM’s culture will allow us to continue marketplace innovation driven by our entrepreneurial spirit. Together with Connect, we will continue to develop the absolute best real time media technology to reach and engage audiences for brands.”

Dobson will work closely with chief strategy officer and founder Tim Webster, who commented that Dobson had played a major role shaping the development of the Exchange Lab.

“His extensive senior leadership experience with BBC Worldwide, Viacom and Microsoft makes him the perfect leader to take the business to its next stage of success within GroupM,” Webster added.

The Exchange Lab will continue to service clients independently whilst operating as an agnostic business layer within Connect with Dobson reporting to GroupM Global chief executive of Connect Rudiger Wanck.

“The Exchange Lab’s value proposition for an all-in-one solution across all digital media and devices and their commitment to building the absolute best technology to solve complexity for clients aligns precisely with the goals of Connect,” said Wanck.

“The impetus behind the creation of Connect is to provide agnostic real time media investment management across all technologies, data and inventory,” he added.  “Adding The Exchange Lab’s talent and proprietary technology accelerates our development and directly benefits the clients of GroupM’s agencies. Likewise, GroupM’s unparalleled scale and innovative media partnerships will terrifically enhance The Exchange Lab’s client services.

“I greatly admire The Exchange Lab’s accomplishments and look forward to working closely with Chris Dobson and his team.”

Anna Dobbie


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