Confusion over Souter role shows imminent task for Ruhanen at TBWA London

First of all it looked as though Peter Souter was stepping down as chairman of TBWA in London but now, it seems, he isn’t – both versions according to Campaign.
These things happen and Souter (above) is no doubt a valuable asset as chairman as well as in his other role as a floating TBWA creative director.

But sooner or later TBWA boss Troy Ruhanen is going to have to bring more clarity to what is now TBWA Group in the UK following the purchase of a majority stake in Lucky Generals. The Generals are operating independently of the rest of TBWA in London it seems (although they’re part of the group) but led the search for new TBWA CCO Andy Jex (from Saatchi) and CSO Ana Vogt (from MullenLowe).

Which is rather like the tail wagging the dog.

TBWA London is searching for a new CEO (it always seems to be searching for a new CEO) and any candidates will want to know exactly what authority they have.

A sensible solution would be to make one of Generals Any Nairn or Helen Calcraft group chairman, with instructions not to meddle too much. Tricky for sure: a non-exc chairman might be too hands-off, an executive chairman too hands-on.

But at least then the incoming TBWA CEO would know what wriggle room they had.

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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.