WPP is in advanced talks to buy the Financial Times’s London headquarters at One Southwark Bridge for £93m, continuing the trend of giant centralised HQs in adland. It already has similar operations in Amsterdam and Toronto.
At the same time Andre Laurentino has been named as the new CCO of WPP’s Ogilvy, just along the river from the FT site and the temporary HQ of WPP top bods including CEO Mark Read and COO Andrew Scott. Laurentino is Ogilvy’s global ECD on the important Dove business. Before joining Ogilvy he was ECD of TBWA in London for two years.
South Bank/Southwark has already become the new main home of London’s adland with Omnicom moving most of its agencies onto Southwark Bridge Road – no river view alas. These include AMV/BBDO, TBWA, Proximity and its media operations.
The likelihood is that WPP’s newly merged VMLY&R will abandon its somewhat remote HQ in Camden, along with fellow tenant Wunderman, for One Southwark Bridge. Grey is just over the river in Hatton Garden while JWT occupies more glitzy premises in posh Knightsbridge. Fitting its vast GroupM media agencies into the somewhat gloomy former FT building would be a a squeeze though. The FT is returning to its former home in Bracken House in the City financial district.
New Ogilvy UK CCO Laurentino (below), who will retain his duties on Dove, had a somewhat rocky time in his brief period at TBWA as the agency went through one of its seemingly endless re-organisations. A star creative and TV writer in his native Brazil, he’s done well to rebuild his career in the UK.
The last remaining piece in new Ogilvy CEO Michael Frohlich’s jigsaw (nearly all the previous top management have left) is CSO, which he says he’ll announce soon.