Grey London has swapped a creative president for a strategy president, handing the role to American Conrad Persons, a global strategist at WPP for the last two years.
There’s no immediate confirmation of a creative replacement – the Grey statement doesn’t even mention Laura Jordan Bambach, the high profile chief creative officer who added president to her role in 2021, who has quit according to her LinkedIn. She helped raise the creative profile of Grey, particularly with the Pringles work, and worked hard to make it an inclusive agency to work for.
But the Grey network has fared less well than its WPP peers in the post-Sorrell era. WPP CEO Mark Read merged Grey into the AKQA Group and the fallout has been steady, with key leaders in various markets either quitting or being pushed.
Based in London since 2010, Persons has worked at WPP agencies including Kantar and Ogilvy, as well as running his own shop, Mash Strategy Studios, from 2010-1019 when it was acquired by WPP. He has lived in the UK for 23 years in all, and during his career he’s also been based in New York and Tokyo.
Laura Maness, global CEO of Grey Group, said: “Conrad is a proven leader with an extraordinary ability to identify opportunities and apply the power of creativity to grow clients’ businesses – be that speaking to new audiences, creating new experiences, services and business models, or designing ways to balance purpose and profit. Mash’s creative storytelling and data integration capabilities helped rewrite the rules of demand and switch on growth for clients. That’s the kind of outsized value to clients we aim to bring.”
Persons said: “I am honoured and excited to join the dynamic team at Grey London. Grey Group’s commitment to creative excellence aligns perfectly with my own passion for innovative solutions. Together, we will continue to push boundaries and create exceptional work for our clients.”
l-r Maness, Persons
UPDATE from AKQA
Laura Jordan Bambach said, “After over 3 years of steering Grey London, I’m excited to be putting everything I’ve learnt into a new venture. We have built a formidable team, with excellent client relationships over this time. I joined with the goal of putting creativity and diversity at the heart of the business, helping everyone make the best work of their lives. I leave knowing we achieved this and more and wish the Grey crew the very best for the future.”
Laura Maness said, “We’d like to thank Laura for her commitment to embracing change and intentional collisions of difference. She leaves behind a brilliant team at Grey London and we wish her well for the future.”
– Grey actually began growing again after the announcement it had joined AKQA.
– It’s continued to grow every year since then and since Laura joined and installed a new
Grey leadership team.
– Most agency mergers/acquisitions result in financials declining in the subsequent years.
This is not the case for Grey joining AKQA.
– Persons has lived in England for 23years, has an English wife and children. His mentor
throughout his career was Jeremy Bullmore.