Dentsu Aegis Network boss Tim Andree is taking leave of absence for health reason, another sign of upheaval at the Dentsu-owned network which handles the Japanese holding company’s giant media business outside its homeland.
Andree (below) was in charge of its creative business – chiefly Mcgarrybowen – before succeeding long-time DAN CEO Jerry Buhlmann who quit in November 2018 after ten years at the helm.
At the time DAN seemed set fair, Buhlmann left with a big cheque and DAN appeared to be holding its own against the other media behemoths WPP’s GroupM, Omnicom’s OMG and Publicis Media.
Then the wheels seemed to come off with a series of top level departures, most notably Buhlmann’s old BBJ mucker Nick Brien who was running the US business – seemingly successfully – and some high profile UK names including Stef Calcraft who only lasted a year as UK and Ireland chairman. There were others too, hardly household names but it began to look like a purge of the Carat old school (Carat is DAN’s biggest network.)
Dentsu has had its problems in Japan too where, despite its huge scale (it does just about everything) growth has stuttered and it has attracted deserved flak for some of its working practices.
Many executives from elsewhere have found working with Japanese companies difficult – most notably at Olympus and Carlos Ghosn at Nissan who found himself behind bars until eventually jumping bail in a musical instrument case.
Under Buhlmann at DAN and with Andree looking after matters in the US Dentsu seemed to have found a way of running its business differently in different parts of the world. But, without wishing to stereotype, when Japanese companies are under pressure they tend to circle the wagons.
But what, exactly, is the perceived threat?