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GroupM North America CEO Sharb Farjami On Streaming, Ad Disruption And His Unplanned Path From Rugby Pitch To Corner Office – Deadline Q&A

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EXCLUSIVE: At an age when most teenagers are trying to master basic hygiene, Sharb Farjami was working full time in the advertising business.

Today, roughly three decades after that early start, he has risen to one of the top posts in the industry as CEO of GroupM North America.

As the media buying arm of giant holding company WPP, GroupM controls billions of dollars in annual ad spending. “I’d love to say this was all intentional, but it’s actually rather accidental,” Farjami told Deadline in an interview. “I didn’t go to college.

I left school pretty early. At 17, I went straight into media.” After initially pursuing a career as a professional rugby player while growing up in London, Farjami recalled with a shrug, “I just wasn’t good enough.” Through sports, he added, “I met lots of people who happened to be in media in one way or another – media owners, agency people, client-side marketers.

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