His promotion coincides with that of another M&C Saatchi lifer, Carrie Hindmarsh, who steps up from group account director to take over Alford's old role as the deputy managing director.
Both will be part of the senior management team running the UK's fifth-largest agency. The team includes Moray MacLennan, the M&C Saatchi UK group chairman, and Tim Duffy, who moved up from the managing directorship to become the agency's chief executive last year.
Alford and Hindmarsh will take on the tasks of galvanising M&C Saatchi's staff, ensuring the quality of its creative output and playing a major role in the company's new-business drive.
New business has taken on an added significance since last year's stock market flotation and the resulting need to build shareholder value.
Alford, 38, and Hindmarsh, 37, are seen as guardians of the M&C Saatchi culture. Hindmarsh was one of the earliest defectors from Saatchi & Saatchi, joining M&C Saatchi just three days after it was set up at the beginning of 1995. Alford was the agency's first external hiring.