Top changes at McCann as holding companies slim down creative

There seems to be fairly major deck-clearing exercise underway at IPG-owned McCann, with McCann Worldgroup global president and chief creative officer Alex Lopez, a former Nike marketer, leaving hard on the heels of McCann global chairman and CEO Chris McDonald.

Which means that McCann Worldgroup global CEO Daryl Lee (above) will become McCann global CEO too. Quite where McCann ends and Worldgroup begins is possibly only known to Interpublic insiders and pulling the two together seems sensible (Worldgroup is the international network of 120 or so mainly McCann agencies.) Under its former arrangement, turf wars looked inevitable.

Lee, of course, is a former global CEO (lot of those still around these days) of IPG Mediabrands, parent company of UM and Initiative. As such he may have found the existing structure at creative agency McCann needlessly complicated. IPG also owns FCB, MullenLowe and numerous smaller shops who may now be looking nervously over their shoulders.

Philippe Krakowsky is the current boss of IPG and it looks from the outside that he is less committed to the status quo than long-serving predecessor Michael Roth. Creative agencies no longer call the shots in the big holding companies and there’s a slow but perceptible move from scores of creative agency brands to far fewer, sometimes, as with the newly-minted Dentsu Creative, just one.

Publicis Groupe, which has been extolling the power of one for years now, still has many more although it has lumped together some of its best US creative talent from the likes of Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi into New York entity Le Truc. One might wonder if the Publicis agency brand still has much salience outside Europe where it’s still big in France and a stand-out performer in Italy.

WPP has merged all of its creative agencies with the exception of Ogilvy – still a mini-holding company in many ways – including VMLY&R, reportedly a strong performer in the US although more so from VML (the digital bit) than Y&R. Ditto Wunderman Thompson elsewhere.

As shareholders demand growth, as opposed to survival, in a post-pandemic world 2023 is likely to see more big changes.

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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.