Mother’s Linus Karlsson takes the top creative job at McCanns in New York and London

And, very possibly, the highest salary in the history of creative directors.

New boss of McCann Worldgroup Nick Brien, once a humble media director in London at Leo Burnett, has bet the ranch in luring Mother New York creative director Linus Karlsson to head up creative at the agency’s New York and London offices.

This is a truly daunting task (apart from anything else McCann’s approach to creativity is hardly as risky as Mother’s and Karlsson, with his long time partner at Mother Paul Malmstrom, has pushed the envelope by even Mother’s standards).

Running two offices is also a bit of a business and it looks as though McCann London creative heads Simon Learman and Brian Fraser will be on their bikes come February when Karlsson officially takes over.

Brien says that, after meeting Karlsson, “he’s the man I alway wanted to marry.” Which is not the kind of thing London media directors used to say unless they wanted to be blackballed from Stringfellow’s. Karlsson, he recokons, has the kind of entrepreneurial and creative skill s that McCann needs to fit itself for the future.

Karlsson says that McCann offers the kind of broad canvas he needs and notes that “Madison Avenue needs to get its swagger back.”

So what about the money?

Neither party is saying although as McCann is owned by quoted marcoms group Interpublic this will certainly come to light in the small print before too long.

It must be at least a million bucks a year basic, thereby making Karlsson the most expensive creative director in history.

Will he succeed, can you do all these jobs all at once?

Time will tell of course but Brien’s been brave and so is Karlsson.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.