Being CEO of Ogilvy & Mather in London isn’t the easiest job, such people being better known for what they achieved before or afterwards. The most notable example being Michael Baulk who left in the 1980s to take his frictionless account man skills to help Abbott Mead Vickers take off.
Now Cheryl Giovannoni (pictured) has left after just two years in the role, to be succeeded on a temporary basis by group CEO Annette King. Giovannoni was a surprise appointment: although she’d worked at Ogilvy much earlier in her career she moved there from the post of EMEA boss at design consultancy Landor, a radically different business although owned, like Ogilvy, by WPP.
Usually, in such high level WPP moves, there’s talk of the person in question moving to some other group role. In this case Giovannoni says she’s looking forward to seeing more of her family.
Although Ogilvy is a hugely successful network, regularly winning Network of the Year at Cannes, its progress (or lack of it) in the UK has been sluggish. One former CEO told me that the place was run by international account barons and he had to beg, borrow and steal people to work on local pitches.
Ogilvy is currently in the process of moving into new digs on London’s South Bank after 20 or so unhappy years of exile in Canary Wharf. The network also needs to replace global CEO Miles Young who is retiring to become warden of New College at Oxford University.