Ogilvy New York parts with Lars Bastholm – now it’s got to make sure Ikea stays

A recurring theme this year seems to be top level creatives from Sweden and big US agencies.

We’ve got Linus Karlsson moving in as chairman and CCO of McCann Erickson in both New York and London and now Lars Bastholm from Sweden, is quitting as CCO of Ogilvy & Mather New York after just two years.

Ogilvy is the US agency for Cannes’ newly-annointed advertiser of the year Ikea (also from Sweden of course) and it’s reasonable to assume that the presence of Bastholm, a digital wizard who moved from AKQA, had something to do with its presence on Madison Avenue.

Bastholm says he wants to go back to doing “entrepreneurial things” and Ogilvy boss John Seifert says: “Lars, Steve (Simpson, joint CCO) and I recently sat down and discussed the progress of Ogilvy’s strong business recovery, the development of our creative community, the agency’s creative product, and our respective leadership roles. We agreed that Lars had made significant contributions to accelerating our digital transformation, recruiting sparkling talent, and helping win IKEA, a showcase accomplishment that revitalized our approach to new business and fueled our growth in 2010.”

This is known in the trade as a non sequitur, they sat down and agreed how well they’d done and so Bastholm is leaving.

When Ikea appointed Ogilvy it seemed out of character (were it not for Bastholm) because the giant retailer usually prefers to work with smaller, creative independents like Mother in the UK.

Ogilvy in the US, owned by WPP of course, is a funny old agency. It should be one of the stalwarts of Madison Avenue, sailing serenely on with the support of its big global clients.

But every now and then it’s hit by ructions, most recently a case of alleged over-billing on digital business for one of its biggest clients, IBM.

Maybe this was one of the things that led to mutual disenchantment between Bastholm and the rest of the management.

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