Country managers are popping up all over the holding company landscape and they seem to be a different breed, for good or ill.
Dentsu Aegis has sprung what’s probably the biggest surprise so far by choosing Mother founder Stef Calcraft as its new UK and Ireland boss, replacing Tracy De Groose.
De Groose, though, was a media agency executive whereas new executive chairman Calcraft, who retired from Mother in 2012, assuredly is not. Before founding Mother in 1996 with Robert Savile he was a BBH account director and also a Unilever client. He did, though, sit on the board of “clever media” agency Naked, a Mother venture originally, from 2000 to 2008.
Media agencies are trying desperately to find a role for themselves in a rapidly changing world and, while Dentsu Aegis is mainly in media via the Carat and Vizeum networks, Dentsu also owns creative agency Mcgarrybowen. Dentsu also has a number of shopper marketing and consultancy businesses.
Calcraft (left) says: “We are entering a uniquely exciting new age for brands where value creation through direct audience building will only be limited by our collective imagination, inventiveness and intimacy with the world around us. Those that lean forward will thrive like never before.
“The vision, ambition and clarity of purpose of Dentsu Aegis is defining in its simplicity and positivity, which attracted me immediately. With the breadth of talent and resource singularly focused on creating positive change, I am delighted to be joining the team.”
Aegis-owned Carat is currently defending its £140m UK government business. The Cabinet Office, which is handling the review, says it’s looking for a new-style media agency with transparency top of its wish list.