Grey UK boss Rayman to head new consulting business

Grey UK CEO Leo Rayman is leaving to head up a new WPP venture, Grey Consulting. The new business (or practice depending on your preference) will be run from London and employ 150 or so consultants drawn from the agency.

Grey global CEO Michael Houston says: “One of the big differences (to a conventional consultancy) will be regardless of the entry point into an initiative all of the outputs and solutions will be seen through a brand lens. It’s really about the creativity that we bring to the thinking.”

Rayman (left) says: “Our practice will go beyond traditional consulting. We will combine analytical rigour with lateral creative thinking and an understanding of how to make things happen to accelerate growth for clients.”

In the meantime Grey London is looking for a new CEO. Grey London seems to have lost its way since creative supremo Nils Leonard left to set up Uncommon with Lucy Jameson and Natalie Graeme two years ago. Replacement CCOs Vicki McGuire and Caroline Pay made a lot of noise but winners were thin on the ground. Pay left recently to join Los Angeles outfit Headspace. As big a loss as Leonard was London CEO Chris Hirst who quit for Havas in a surprise move in 2015.

To some Rayman’s move will be further proof that planners, however gifted, find it hard to adjust to becoming agency CEOs. Doubters say they become too enmeshed in client business.

One Comment

  1. Sadly for Greys, with its grey reputation and old ad model, is not well suited to the new generation of agencies – if in fact there is even a new generation. The old ad model is dead. Big agencies are less relevant to clients these days, especially as they grow their in-house support agencies. Unilever’s U Studio is outperforming external agencies in terms of efficiency and doing some great work too.
    So what role does adland play in the next generation of marketing? Doing the bits the houses can’t. Which is?
    In the ‘One to One Economy’ consumers are buying direct, as are clients. The middleman is in decline and alas the very model of ad agencies is as a middleman. Ad agencies that have tried to become business consultants soon find they aren’t credible.
    Ad agencies need to become Agile Adapters but alas all suffer from Agile Inertia (check out the work of Donald Sull or The Garage Innovation Lab).
    As a lifelong lover of Adland even I am starting to see the writing on the digital wall.

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