Dentsu has promoted EVP, global clients Greg Reilly to serve as president of its growing Dentsu Health arm. Reilly, a member of the Dentsu Health leadership team since its April 2021 launch, assumed the role last month.
Reilly is the de facto replacement for Dentsu Health global president Matt McNally, who departed the company in June to become CEO of Omnicom Health Group. McNally, in fact, was responsible for Reilly joining Dentsu Health in the first place: The two had previously worked together at Outcome Health and Publicis Health Media.
“He called me and said, ‘I’m gonna go do this thing at Dentsu, a different take on what the other networks are doing. Do you want to join?’” Reilly recalled.
That “different take” has come into focus over the last 20 months. Prior to the debut of Dentsu Health, Dentsu was the only megasized agency network that lacked a flagship health offering. Since then, the Dentsu Health team has drawn upon the experience of some 2,000 people across the broader Dentsu operation, including expert media (Carat), creative/interactive (360i) and customer experience management/data (Merkle) shops.
“We’ve spent the last two years trying to craft a unique perspective based on what we believe clients are hungry for,” Reilly said.
Dentsu itself has evolved over the last few years, consolidating from around 300 global brands to six. “We had lots of health work, but [before Dentsu Health debuted] there wasn’t a consistent way for clients to understand all of these great capabilities and points of view we have in the healthcare space,” Reilly explained. “The question was, ‘How do you unlock the capabilities of this network it if you’re a Merkle or a Carat client?’”
Reilly believes Dentsu Health has answered that question. “It may not be the sexiest thing in the world, but it’s about having a really clear set of operating models,” he continued. “We have the scale of a global network but can add that layer of specialization in health. We can live in both worlds.”
Reilly is well-known in both health media and agency circles. Prior to joining Dentsu Health, he served as EVP of CX and industry sales at Outcome Health. In that role, he was a crucial member of the turnaround team charged with rebuilding the company after a series of fraud allegations. Outcome was sold to PatientPoint in March 2021.
Reilly worked for Publicis Health Media from 2014 to 2019, rising to the role of chief client officer. Before that, he worked for W2O Group and Razorfish Health, serving as the lead for Razorfish’s Johnson & Johnson business.
As for what comes next, Dentsu Health is set to announce the addition of a new executive creative director within the next week or two and has tapped the expertise of Dentsu vet Lynda Gordon as head of health data and analytics.
“Obviously responsible growth is always a priority,” Reilly said. “One of the things we talk about a lot is not losing sight of the fact that health is a human experience. There’s data and technology and chatbots and those are tremendously valuable as augmentations, but in everything we bring to clients and markets we need to ask, ‘Does this address the human need of health?’”