Question marks over Ogilvy UK’s dramatic restructure as ad boss Charlie Rudd quits

Michael Frohlich’s controversial restructuring of Ogilvy UK has had another predictable consequence: former Ogilvy & Mather CEO Charlie Rudd, who led a revival of the agency, has quit his post as chief client officer. Ogilvy & Mather disappeared in the UK in the Frohlich revamp.

He follows chief production officer Clare Donald, a well respected adland figure, and Jo Coombs, one-time CEO of Ogilvy One, out of the door. Ogilvy UK abandoned company units in favour of chief this and that in the the Frohlich restructuring and Rudd was never likely to take to his new job, whatever it is.

Rudd (below with former boss Annette King) says: “I am extremely proud of our turnaround of Ogilvy and I’m hugely grateful to the team at Sea Containers (Ogilvy UK HQ) for making it happen. The time is right for me now to explore what else is interesting out there.”

Frohlich headed Ogilvy’s PR business before he succeeded Annette King as CEO of Ogilvy UK. King quit last year to become Publicis Groupe’s country manager in the UK. Frohlich’s restructuring mirrors that launched by Ogilvy global CEO John Seifert in the US but goes further in the search for one combined entity with a single profit and loss.

Ogilvy is an important part of the WPP empire, in effect it used to be a holding company in its own right with creative, direct marketing and media all happily ensconced in their own units – or ‘silos’ as they’re disparagingly known these days.

The recent turmoil will be a worry for WPP interim COO Mark Read who has enough on his plate restoring morale after the departure of founder and CEO Sir Martin Sorrell and dealing with slowing growth and a number of big client reviews.

It will be interesting to see if Frohlich and indeed Seiffert survive their own changes.

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