Richard Warren, CEO of DLKW Lowe in London and the ‘W’ in DLKW, is to be the new UK CEO of Mullen Lowe Group, Interpublic’s latest merger of its Lowe network. Warren will report to Mullen’s Alex Leikikh who has taken over from the departing Michael Wall as CEO of the network.
Warren says: “I am very excited about the potential of learning from Mullen’s outstanding US success. I am keen to create…a highly contemporary, competitive and integrated UK group offering.”
Neither Mullen nor DLKW are agencies in the old Lowe mould, the template forged by Sir Frank Lowe before he sold the agency he founded with Geoff Howard-Spink to IPG. Lowe’s ideas about what agencies could and should do never meshed with IPG’s US management and the network has struggled to establish itself in the US despite successes elsewhere.
Mullen is the latest attempt to establish the network there although some might see it as part of a tidying up exercise at IPG prior to a sale. Although IPG’s big creative networks McCann and FCB, and the jewel in the crown digital agency R/GA, are doing well along with its PR agencies, media is currently a disaster area outside the US.
CEO Michael Roth, who now has activist investor Elliott Management perched on his board, may be tempted to abandon what’s becoming an unequal struggle against the likes of WPP and Omnicom. First though he needs a buyer and a third (fourth if you include R/GA) viable creative network in Mullen Lowe would make the company more attractive, as a whole entity or a break-up.