Mark Penn is Chairman and CEO of MDC Partners, the progressive marketing and communications network that champions innovative entrepreneurial talent, as well as Managing Partner of The Stagwell Group, a private equity fund focused on the marketing services industry.
Mark’s career spans 40 years in advertising, market research, public relations, polling and consulting. He has advised top world leaders, led companies, and written two bestselling books. Prior to founding The Stagwell Group and joining MDC Partners, Mark served in senior executive positions at Microsoft. As Microsoft’s Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, he was responsible for working on core strategic issues across the company, blending data-analytics with creativity to help set the company on a new course, and overseeing all advertising. This included managing and devising the famous Scroogled campaign on internet privacy and running the company’s hugely successful 2014 Super Bowl ad.
Mark’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 by serving clients with innovative techniques, from being first with overnight polling to pioneering unique ad testing methods used by both Presidents and Fortune 100 corporations. At WPP, Mark also became CEO of Burson-Marsteller, and managed the two companies to record profit growth during that period.
A globally recognized strategist, Mark has advised corporate and political leaders, both in the United States and internationally. For six years, he served as White House Pollster to President Bill Clinton and was a senior adviser in his 1996 re-election, identifying “Soccer Moms” as the key swing vote needed for victory. The Washington Post wrote that no other pollster had ever become, “so thoroughly integrated into the policymaking operation” of a presidential administration.
A globally recognized thought leader, Mark authored The Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestselling book “Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes;” and has been a columnist for The Wall Street Journal, Time, POLITICO, and The Huffington Post. In a cover story, Time Magazine called him “Master of the Message.”
Penn earned a bachelor’s degree with honors 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 he serves on the board of Meridian International Center. Mark is also a Visiting Lecturer at Harvard.