Bruce Friend, the president of Ipsos OTX MediaCT, one of Hollywood's leading market research firms, has quit the company, TheWrap has learned.
News of the leadership shakeup at the research firm comes as one of OTX's main rivals, MarketCast, announced Friday that it had been sold by parent company Reed Business Information to Shamrock Capital Growth Fund III.
Friend, a former MTV and Sony Pictures executive, joined OTX in 2003. He became president of the Ipsos media content and technology division after the global research giant acquired OTX in March of 2010 for an undisclosed sum.
“I wanted to go back to something more entrepreneurial and technology oriented,” Friend told TheWrap. “It’s a big company. I do wish them well. My people are staying. I want them to continue to do well.”
Friend’s reference to the size of the company echoes what one individual said was the source of growing discontentment at the firm. Friend felt the company changed under its new leadership, and grew weary of being constrained by shrinking budgets and staff cuts.
According to the individual, Friend believed that the bottom-line oriented approach meant OTX was losing ground in a crowded market research field to pioneer National Research Group, MarketCast and upstart Screen Engine.
Screen Engine is led by Kevin Goetz, who quit OTX in 2010 as president of its worldwide motion picture research group after the company was acquired by Ipsos.
Ipsos OTX's primary focus has been providing studios with test screenings and tracking research, a field that NRG has long dominated.
MarketCast’s primary area of strength has been in testing marketing materials, while Screen Engine has established itself as a boutique research firm for screenings.
In a company-wide email, Jeffrey Call, president and CEO of Ipsos US, said Friend had decided he would prefer to work at a smaller company or possibly return to the client side of the market research business.
He said there was no replacement for Friend as yet.
"We thank Bruce for his many years of service in the historic OTX organization as well as leading the US MediaCT team and wish him well in his future endeavors," Call wrote.
Here is the full text of the email to staff:
As detailed in our recent teleconference unfortunately Bruce Friend has decided to leave his role as the US MediaCT leader and will be leaving Ipsos. Bruce has made a personal decision that he would like to work in a smaller company or perhaps return to the client side of the business.
We will be replacing Bruce’s position as leader of the US MediaCT and plan to be back with news on this key strategic role in the company soon. In the interim Bruce’s direct reports will report to me as I will be providing leadership for the group until a new leader is identified. Look for the MediaCT WSBL leadership to be involved here as well with Richard Silman and Henri Wallard helping in the selection process of our new leader as well as pitching in on the business front.
We thank Bruce for his many years of service in the historic OTX organization as well as leading the US MediaCT team and wish him well in his future endeavors.
Please give me a call or email with any questions.