He replaces Ian Redman, who left in August to join rival agency PHD as a managing partner.
Loughran, who starts at MEC on 1 October, will oversee all of the agency’s new business, marketing and PR activities.
He joins from retail marketing specialist Sequoia, where he was business development director working for clients including Virgin Megastores, The Co-operative Group and Woolworths.
Previously, Loughran was head of marketing at MVC, the specialist music, games and DVD retail arm of Woolworths Group, and before that senior marketing manager at HMV.
The appointment marks his return to media agencies after more than a decade, having started his career in the media division of creative agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty.
MEC is “on the crest of a wave”, Loughran said. “The team has radically overhauled the business, through best-in-class, integrated thinking married with tangible buying power,” he added.
The WPP agency has enjoyed a string of new business wins in 2007, including The Training and Development Agency for Schools, Paramount Home Entertainment and, most recently, Freeview and BT.
MEC chief executive Tom George said Loughran’s appointment would build on the agency’s “unabated growth” in both emerging and traditional channels.