AMV creative chief Alex Grieve in shock switch to BBH

AMV BBDO, for years the UK’s biggest agency by billings, has gone through a roller coaster last couple of years with the departure of CEO Sarah Douglas and the loss of big accounts Asda and BT while at the same time hoovering up awards, chiefly for its Bodyform/Libresse work.

Now CCO Alex Grieve (above) is leaving, joining BBH as global CCO and co-chair of BBH’s new global board (the agency doesn’t have a UK CEO) with Annette King. ECDs Nadja Lossgott and Nicholas Hulley take over at AMV. BBH global CCO Joakim Borgström is leaving. Grieve worked at BBH before AMV.

Grieve says: “Being asked to return to BBH was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. To be able to pass on what I have learnt from the agency that taught me my craft is interesting. To work with talented and kind people is interesting.

“To be entrusted with a creative jewel and see if, together, we can make it sparkle even more brightly is interesting. And as John Hegarty famously said, ‘do interesting things and interesting things will happen’.”

Grieve will also be aware that Sir John’s shoes are big ones to fill. The celebrated BBH founder has never really been replaced since he left in 2012 to pursue a range of interests.

AMV now has a new CEO in Sam Hawkey, joining from Saatchi & Saatchi, who faces a pretty daunting in-tray. The agency has lost its way after decades of smooth progress under a number of leaders headed by former chairman Cilla Snowball.

Winning bucket loads of awards for Bodyform/Libresse is one thing but losing huge accounts like Asda and BT is quite another, one which won’t have played at all well with agency owner Omnicom. Asda only stayed for a short time anyway, a brief replacement for longstanding client Sainsbury’s.

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About Stephen Foster

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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