The assignment will not affect local agency arrangements. But Harry Reid, FCB's international president, said: 'Olympus has some ambitious plans and we are looking to win the rest of the business country by country.'
Lowe Lintas, which has held the UK account for seven years, contested the business along with the French office of DDB Needham. The three agencies were the finalists out of 12 contenders.
The pan-European assignment will be run out of the FCB agency in Hamburg, which handled Olympus in Germany from 1979 to 1982.
Hans Thiele, the head of Olympus Europa's communication division, cited FCB's understanding of the need for 'an idea that is both simple and smart, which can be implemented consistently and interconnects on all levels' as the reason for the appointment.
Young & Rubicam previously handled the pan-European account, although Lowe had been producing the most recent work to run across the company's five key European markets.
During its tenure of the account, Lowe produced some high-profile work which belied its modest budget. It includes the 'so sharp it hurts' campaign featuring Joan Collins and an international press campaign highlighting the dilemmas of photojournalists with the line: 'Should you be using corpses to get a great composition anyway?'
Martin Blach, the chief executive of FCB in Germany, said: 'Olympus has recognised the value of our integrated branding approach that we can roll out across all channels of communication.'