Can Deloitte Digital’s Andy Main trigger “creative transformation” at WPP’s Ogilvy?

Ogilvy is, or was, the biggest agency in WPP’s creative line-up and for WPP CEO Mark Read to achieve his promised “creative transformation” needs to be firing on all cylinders.

Its new global CEO to replace long-serving John Seifert (41 years at the agency) is Andy Main, global head of Deloitte Digital. Deloitte Digital is an eight year old offshoot of the accountancy and consultancy giant and Main’s appointment seems to tick two big Mark Read boxes: business transformation and tech.

Main (above) is no mean box-ticker himself saying: “Ogilvy is a name synonymous with creative and strategic excellence, and I am honored to become the company’s next CEO. We have a great opportunity to help clients deliver sustainable growth by using Ogilvy’s creative genius to transform not only brands but entire businesses.

And, in the wake of Black Lives Matter and other such issues: “We must also be a company with a clear culture of belonging where talented people from underrepresented groups are championed and supported throughout their careers, and given the chance to reach the very highest levels of the organization.”

Deloitte Digital is less high profile than rival Accenture Interactive but it has also made big inroads in ad agency territory with a more low-key approach. Its biggest acquisition is San Francisco agency Heat, bought in 2016.

Seifert, who leaves at the end of the year (Main joins next month) says: “I am so grateful to have spent the past 41 years with Ogilvy. I have been supported by so many generous colleagues and clients. It’s been a wonderful life. Andy’s personal and professional experiences could not be more relevant for the ongoing transformation of Ogilvy and WPP at a moment of extraordinary change and opportunity in our industry.”

Ogilvy has undergone a series of revamps in recent years, moving from the equivalent of a biggish holding company (albeit within WPP) to a ‘One Ogilvy’ position. The necessary magic seems to have been lacking though and Covid-19 obviously hasn’t helped. The agency laid off 80 people in pre-Covid January.

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About Stephen Foster

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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.

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