UniWorld founder Byron Lewis sells stake in agency to new CEO Monique Nelson
The UniWorld Group, one of the nation’s oldest and largest African-American owned advertising agencies, has announced today that its founder and CEO, Byron E. Lewis, is retiring and has sold his majority ownership stake of the firm to UWG Senior Vice President of Brand Integration, Monique L. Nelson. WPP will continue to own 49% of the agency’s shares.
“Monique is a very talented person,” Lewis, who now becomes chairman emeritus, told Target Market News. “Her experience in packaged goods, technology and international markets will continue to be important to UniWorld’s future. I’ve seen her perform in difficult situations, and she understands the perspective of the client. She also has a vision of the digital space and how our approach to advertising works within it.”
Nelson, who has been with the agency for the past five years, had been tasked with bringing strategic, coherent brand positioning through media, interactive and promotional inclusion across the marketing mix to the UniWorld Group clients, including Ford Motor Company, The Home Depot, U.S. Marines and AARP, to name a few. She oversaw all day-to-day operations for the agency as well as managed all aspects of project development, including new business, approval of scopes of work, manpower hours, budget creation and program execution.
“Multicultural advertising grew from a need to address the complexities of a unique and underserved market. As this discipline progresses, I am honored to be leading the charge at UniWorld in developing the next evolution of multicultural advertising, not only in the U.S., but around the world,” stated Nelson. “As multicultural communities increase in size and complexity, never has the need or possibilities been greater for the agency’s capabilities to provide its unique cultural insights for a better understanding of how diversity is reflected in our society.”
Nelson’s more than 15 years in marketing includes nine years as global lead for entertainment marketing at Motorola Inc. She is credited with leading the global launch of the first iPhone with iTunes, the Motorola ROKR, and was the company’s first African-American to be named advertising manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, based in Milan, Italy.
Nelson has an MBA in International Marketing and Finance from Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. and is engaged to be married later this year.