Blamer to rescue Grey’s US flagship

LONDON - Steve Blamer is quitting his post as Grey London’s chief executive a year ahead of schedule and is returning to the US to run the New York operation.

Steve Blamer is quitting his post as Grey London’s chief executive

a year ahead of schedule and is returning to the US to run the New York

operation.

His departure, which is expected within the next few months, will leave

Grey London without an obvious successor.

Blamer, who joined the London office in March 1998 from Los Angeles,

will take over the running of the New York office from Bob Berenson, who

remains president of North America.

The New York office, which traditionally has been the big cash generator

for the Grey network, is said to be suffering from a number of factors

including a slow new-business record, tighter controls on commission

from Procter & Gamble and high staff levels.

Grey Worldwide will be posting its figures for 1999 this Friday and

insiders have said they are likely to be disappointing. The New York

office is expected to be the biggest contributor to the losses, a

situation Blamer will be expected to redress.

Several senior industry figures have been approached about replacing

Blamer in the UK. Richard Pinder, the former managing director of Ogilvy

& Mather, who is known to be a popular choice with Ed Meyer, Grey’s

worldwide president, is thought to be one of them.

Other names in the frame include Piers Yeld, who is based in Brussels

and heads Grey’s P&G Europe business. He is British and has worked in

the London office before, having joined the group from Young & Rubicam

in the late 80s.

Sources believe that Yeld would be a conservative choice and one that

would be out of kilter with the UK agency’s desire to reform.

Tim Mellors, the agency’s executive creative director, is another

possible candidate who could work in conjunction with the managing

directors of the internal agencies.

Chris King, the executive vice-president in London, will not be offered

the job. Instead he will take over the running of the global Mars

business from Mike Hemingway, who is leaving Grey to take up another job

in the US.

John Fox, who runs the Far East region, will also be returning to New

York to run a multinational account.

Sources say that Blamer is adamant that whoever is selected for the role

- a decision he will make with Meyer and John Shannon, president of Grey

International - will promote his legacy and retain Grey’s five ’agencies

within agencies’.

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