AMV BBDO turns to Saatchi’s Hawkey for revival bid

What do you do with an agency that keeps winning creative awards but losing business? That’s the challenge facing Sam Hawkey, CEO of Publicis-owned Saatchi & Saatchi London who’s been annointed as the new CEO of Omnicom-owned rival AMV BBDO.

34-year old Hawkey (above) replaces Sarah Douglas who left after a two and half year reign. He’ll be replaced at Saatchi by 72andSunny global partner Chris Kay.

Hawkey has risen rapidly through the Saatchi ranks although it should be born in mind that Magnus Djaba, his predecessor at Saatchi, is now global president and based in London and Annette King ultimately rules the Publicis roost as group CEO. So it’s a big step up for him.

Hawkey says: “Having once stood outside the AMV offices as an account manager ready for an interview, I got the distinct feeling I was entering the creative pinnacle. Since then, I have watched with a deep respect at their ability to consistently transform businesses and brands with an unwavering belief in the power of creative ideas.

“Now I get the opportunity to work with Alex (Grieve, CCO) and the team to shape, grow and transform one of the most iconic agency brands in the world.”

AMV is reeling in Grand Prix at Cannes and elsewhere with its work for Essity but has lost major pieces of business, most notably BT to Saatchi (which sets up an intriguing scenario) and Asda to Havas. Asda in particular was a car crash with its big campaign last year having “this account is going to move” written all over it.

AMV has never really rediscovered its mojo since it moved from its cherished Marylebone HQ into Omnicom’s vast new building on London’s South Bank which houses a gaggle of other Omnicom agencies. It has also played second fiddle to sibling adam&eveDDB, which displaced it as the UK’s biggest creative agency by billings two years ago.

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