DDB’s Wendy Clark quits for surprise switch to Dentsu

The ad business still has the capacity to surprise now and then and here’s one: Wendy Clark is quitting as boss of Omnicom’s DDB to be global CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network, Jerry Buhlmann’s old job. She’ll report to executive chairman Tim Andree who’s just returned from sick leave. But it would be another surprise if she isn’t running the show.

Before joining DDB Clark spent seven years in regional and global marketing roles at Coca-Cola. Clark joins in September (DAN’s HQ is in London.) At DDB chairman Chuck Brymer takes on CEO too.

Clark (below) says: “It’s both an incredible honor and deep responsibility to join DAN at this crucial time. Given such unprecedented global change it’s more important than ever that we’re completely focused on creating insightful, informed, important ideas for brands, businesses and their customers.

Wendy Clark (PRNewsFoto/DDB Worldwide)

“The focused investments made by DAN over the last few years to acquire and grow the right assets, talent and capabilities, enabling modern marketing solutions, is undeniable and ready-made for today’s marketplace and beyond.

“It is hugely compelling to me to help continue Dentsu’s rich legacy of constant innovation and industry leadership over the last 100 years. I’ve had the privilege of working for brands and companies with powerful heritages and that’s informed my enduring belief that great brands and companies benefit from having a foot in their past and a foot in their future. It’s a massive competitive advantage that Dentsu has decades of know-how and experience that serve both as a foundation and a built-in benchmark to continue to drive the company forward.”

Andree says: “Following a thorough and considered global search, I am happy to welcome Wendy as our new CEO and look forward to working together to drive our ambitious agenda forward. With her combined experience of walking in the shoes of the client, coupled with her leadership in running a large global creative agency network, Wendy is the stand-out choice for the role.”

DAN’s business is mainly media planning and buying via Carat and Vizeum and it also owns marketing agency Merkle. Creative isn’t a major part of the mix although it owns Mcgarrybowen. It flirted with the creative side of life at group level by hiring former Mother founder Stef Calcraft 18 months ago but he left suddenly late last year.

Clark is reckoned by most to have done a pretty good job at DDB. The one blot on her copybook was the failure of We Are Unlimited, a bespoke agency DDB set up to handle McDonald’s in the US. The account left after two years for Wieden+Kennedy New York.

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.