Carl Hartman is currently the CEO at Geometry, the largest and most geographically complete activation agency. Prior to joining Geometry, Hartman was Director of Integration at MEC where he worked on accounts such as Cadbury Schweppes, Energizer, and Schick. The Makegood recently spoke to Harman about his recent hire as CEO.
The Makegood: Congratulations on your recent hire to Geometry as North American CEO. You joined the team right around the agency’s first year anniversary. How did this impact your role initially, and how did that motivate you to make even greater strides for the company?
Any time there is a merger there are cultural and operational strains on a company; Geometry Global was actually a merger of three separate entities, which had the potential to triple that effect. That said, the fact that we’ve been growing so rapidly and seeing so much success mitigated those factors. I’ve been really impressed with all that’s been accomplished in the first year and pleased that the transition has been more fluid than anticipated.
The Makegood: How do you believe that all of your previous experiences, for example at MEC, will help you in your role at Geometry? What sort of technology and marketing experience will you bring to the position?
Having worked across various sectors – advertising and media as well as from a parent company perspective at WPP – has given me a multi-faceted view of a client’s needs and issues. This has helped me to understand their overarching business problems in a way that most CEOs wouldn’t. It has also given me a great understanding of how Geometry Global fits into the bigger picture.
The Makegood: You were involved as a key player in the consolidation of Unilever’s shopper marketing business in the US. Could you elaborate on this, and discuss how this could apply to Geometry?
There’s a recognition that great shopper marketing can drive a company’s business better and faster. In order to get great shopper marketing you need a coalition of experts. Since no single agency possesses all of those areas of expertise, we purposefully built a customized structure for Unilever and were able to deliver expertise against all of their specific needs by creating Team Unilever Shopper (of which Geometry is at the center). This takes pressure off of us, in a way, because instead of trying to do everything in a mediocre way, we are now able to focus on doing what we do better than anyone else in the world.
The Makegood: In addition to your post at Geometry, you also serve on WPP’s team. Could you elaborate on this position, and what this adds to your knowledge of the industry?
The Team Leader role is intended to simplify the agency management role for bigger WPP clients. As Kimberly-Clark’s CMO, Clive Sirkin, once put it, he wants “one throat to choke.” Living intimately with a single client like Kimberly-Clark allows me to understand their business much deeper, which is often helpful since they are one of Geometry’s largest clients.
The Makegood: What do you see for your future at Geometry? Do you see yourself continuously growing with the company?
I anticipate being completely satisfied with growing Geometry Global in North America. We have a lot of opportunities and to redefine shopper marketing and find ways to do it better. Having worked in the business for almost 30 years, I’ve been inspired by agencies that have been able to make a profound difference because they were in the right place at the right time. I firmly believe that Geometry is in that place right now and we plan to make the utmost of that advantage.
The Makegood: Thank you, Carl.