Sable replaces McLennan as head of Y&R – more spring cleaning by WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell?

Well you have to ask, Y&R Advertising CEO Hamish McLennan (pictured) is on his way, following hard in the footsteps of other WPP operating company panjamdrums Paul Taaffe at Hill & Knowlton and Doug Checkeris at Mediacom in the US.

McLennan is to be replaced by Wunderman boss David Sable, direct marketer Wunderman is also part of WPP’s Y&R Brands empire headed by Peter Stringham which also includes PR company Cohn & Wolfe and medical agency Sudler & Hennessey.

Now WPP owns a mind-numbing number of marcoms companies and it may be just coincidence that the managers of three of them are on their bikes at the same time.

But you can’t help thinking that WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell, faced with a market going up as opposed to the stagnation or worse of the last three years, is replacing safe hands who have hung on to clients in the bad times with new execs he thinks will help grow WPP’s businesses organically, never its strongest suit.

Y&R these days is a pale shadow of what it used to be (in 1975 it was the world’s biggest agency). But like most WPP-owned networks it appears to find it difficult to thrive under WPP’s tightly-controlled ROI-dominated management system.

Essentially it’s not much fun working for Sir Martin.

Everybody in the agency world knows this. Isn’t there somebody around who can whisper it into Sir Martin’s ear?

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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.