Our team is a combination of agency leaders who have started their own firms, worked inside major public holding companies, managed multibillion client side marketing budgets and have completed mergers and acquisitions at high profile Wall Street and private equity firms.
Most importantly, our fund is not run by accountants but rather people with decades of experience running agencies in highly competitive verticals of the marketing services space. We know what it takes to pitch new business, run a P&L, work for the C-Suite of Fortune 100 companies and grow an agency from a mom and pop to a global brand with offices on nearly every continent.
Mark Penn is the President and Managing Partner of The Stagwell Group, a private equity fund focused on the marketing services industry. In this role, Penn directs the acquisition process and oversees the Group’s portfolio companies.
Penn has been in research, advertising, public relations, polling and consulting for nearly 40 years. Before founding The Stagwell Group, he served in senior executive positions at Microsoft where as Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, he was responsible for working on core strategic issues across Microsoft's products, value propositions and investments and leading the company's competitive research and analysis.
Penn's experience in growing, building and managing agencies is well-documented. As the co-founder and CEO of Penn Schoen Berland, a global market research firm that he built and sold to WPP, he demonstrated value creation in a crowded industry serving clients with innovative techniques from being first with overnight polling to pioneering unique ad testing methods used by Presidents and Fortune 100 corporations. At WPP, he also became CEO of Burson-Marsteller, and managed the two companies to record profit growth during that period.
He is also known as the strategist for and creator of well-known campaigns and ads, helping reelect President Bill Clinton and his move to the political center, devising then Senator Hillary Clinton’s successful “Upstate strategy,” creating Tony Blair's "Forward not Back" campaign in 2005 and the “3AM” ad in the 2008 Presidential primaries, and led the team on Microsoft's hugely successful 2014 Super Bowl ad when he headed advertising there.
Penn has been a senior adviser to global corporate and political leaders including Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, Bill Ford, U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and President Bill Clinton. He has helped elect over 25 heads of state around the world.
Penn is also a globally recognized thought leader. He authored the Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestselling book “Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes”; and was a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Time.com, POLITICO, and The Huffington Post. In a cover story, Time Magazine called him “Master of the Message.”
Penn earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and attended Columbia Law School. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Holocaust Museum’s Committee on Conscience, and serves on the board of Meridian International Center. Penn is also a Visiting Lecturer at Harvard College and a Professorial Lecturer at George Washington University.
Jay Leveton leverages extensive leadership experience within marketing communications services in his current role as Partner at The Stagwell Group, where he is responsible for sourcing, integrating, and scaling the firm’s portfolio of companies.
Prior to joining The Stagwell Group, Jay served as the Global CEO at Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, one of the most successful global political polling firms to evolve into a corporate market research company. Jay was the second Global CEO of the 37 year old, WPP-owned firm, having taken over from Mark Penn (current Managing Partner at The Stagwell Group) when he departed for Microsoft in July 2012. As Global CEO, Jay grew the firm’s revenue and profit by double digits annually and expanded its footprint to Germany, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.
Jay also served as Executive Vice President, Worldwide at global public relations firm, Burson Marsteller, where he sat on the firm’s senior leadership team and was responsible for several key functions, including marketing, communications, new business development, and senior talent acquisition. In 2012, Jay was recognized by PRWeek as one of the Top 40 Under 40 rising stars in the public relations industry and in 2011, under his leadership, Burson Marsteller was awarded the Holmes Report North American Agency of the Year besting other small, medium and large public relations firms.
Jay has worked with both high level political and corporate clients, including former President Bill Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, and Fortune 500 companies such as Verizon, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, and Accenture, among many others.
Jay graduated cum laude from American University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science.
Jason leverages substantial experience in technology investing and financial structuring in his current capacity as Vice President at the Stagwell Group.
Prior to joining Stagwell, Jason served as a Senior Business Strategy manager at Microsoft, analyzing areas of potential focus and investment across the company. Jason’s responsibilities included analyzing relevant market trends affecting Microsoft, assessing the company’s assets to address future market opportunities, and selectively managing priority initiatives stemming from the strategy group.
Previously Jason spent nearly a decade as a senior analyst at several institutional investment firms in New York and LA including SAC Capital and Intrepid Capital. In this capacity Jason principally focused on the technology, media, and telecom sectors, with a subsector focus on internet & new media. Jason has developed deep knowledge of these sectors and the principles and methods of successful investment.
Jason also has several years of experience in event-driven & special situation transactions, having served as an analyst at Empyrean capital, analyzing corporate restructurings, spin-offs, split-offs, refinancings and others arbitrage situations. Jason began his career in the mergers & acquisitions department of Morgan Stanley, executing deals in the industrial & technology sectors.
Jason graduated cum laude from Georgetown University with a degree in Finance and International Business.
Ryan Greene, Chief Financial Officer of Stagwell, has extensive experience providing finance, transaction and operations leadership to both private and public sector companies.
Before joining Stagwell in 2015, Ryan served as a Financial Management Consultant at MorganFranklin Consulting. He provided strategic business and financial operations advice to senior client executives, specifically in the areas of short and long-term financial plans, operational improvement and optimization, and financial reporting in both a GAAP and Pro Forma basis. He has serviced clients across a variety of industries, including advertising technology, healthcare, financial services, and defense contractors.
Prior to MorganFranklin, Ryan served as the Chief Financial Officer of CLS Strategies, a professional services firm owned by the Omnicom Group specializing in public affairs, crisis and litigation communications, and digital advocacy, as well as Vice President of Finance with C2 Creative, a creative and production services agency also owned by the Omnicom Group. Earlier in his career, Ryan held corporate finance and accounting roles with Ernst & Young LLP, BCom3 (acquired by Publicis Groupe), and Arthur Andersen.
Ryan received a BBA degree from Pace University, a MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University, and is a New York state licensed CPA.
Beth is the Chief Operating Officer of the Stagwell Group. Beth manages Stagwell’s acquisition targeting process, portfolio company integration, strategic positioning and overall operations.
Beth has focused her career at the intersection of business, news and politics.
Prior to joining the Stagwell Group, Beth was the creative mind behind POLITICO’s award-winning live events division as Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Events. During her tenure, Beth started and grew the team, hosting nearly 500 successful events around the nation.
Beth has also held leadership roles for public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, international polling firm Penn, Schoen & Berland and in the Political Unit of CBS News. She holds a master’s degree from Cambridge University and a bachelor's degree from George Washington University, both in international affairs.
Mary Southwick serves as Design Director for The Stagwell Group. She brings an expansive background of design experience, working in a wide range of fast-paced environments that include both private and public sectors.
Prior to joining The Stagwell Group, Mary served as Executive Presentation Analyst on Microsoft’s SWAT team for the Chief Strategy Officer, where she managed and designed various projects, including strategic presentations to the Microsoft CEO and Senior Leadership. She has also served in a variety of design roles during her time at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and The Boston Redevelopment Authority, where she supported a number of high-profile initiatives.
Mary is originally from Nebraska, and currently resides in Washington DC.