Greenlees to take top TBWA position

Michael Greenlees, the chairman of the GGT Group, is to become the heir apparent to Bill Tragos, the 63-year-old chairman and co-founder of TBWA Worldwide.

Michael Greenlees, the chairman of the GGT Group, is to become the

heir apparent to Bill Tragos, the 63-year-old chairman and co-founder of

TBWA Worldwide.



No official announcement is expected for several weeks, but sources

close to the group say Greenlees will take the title of chief executive

officer of an enlarged TBWA group, reporting directly to Tragos in New

York.



Greenlees has been widely expected to take up a senior post in the

network since he sold his GGT empire to TBWA’s parent, Omnicom, in

January. TBWA is expected to merge later this year with GGT’s principal

asset, the BDDP network, which is headquartered in France.



At the same time, Jean-Marie Dru, the chief executive of BDDP, is

expected to take the top role in Europe, while Bob Kuperman, president

and chief executive of TBWA Chiat/Day in the US, will retain his

position. Greenlees was unavailable for comment as Campaign went to

press, but reports of his new role did nothing to stem rumours that the

offices of GGT and TBWA in London would merge soon.



The chairman of Omnicom, John Wren, who was on holiday this week, has

repeatedly played down speculation that GGT and TBWA would join forces

in London.



But a merger between the two worldwide networks is almost certain to go

ahead, and agency executives privately admit that a merger in London

would make sense. There is little client conflict between the agencies,

GGT and TBWA Simons Palmer, although it would mean yet more disruption

at the agencies, which were both formed out of mergers last year, when

GGT joined with BST-BDDP and TBWA linked with Simons Palmer Clemmow

Johnson.



According to insiders, a combined agency would be likely to see both

Paul Simons, TBWA’s existing chairman, and Paul Bainsfair, the chairman

of GGT, taking senior roles.



One option is that Simons would take on additional responsibilities in a

European group role, in which he would also oversee Omnicom’s

below-the-line capability, while Bainsfair would concentrate on running

the advertising agency in London.



Trevor Beattie, GGT’s creative director, is favourite for the top

creative role in the UK. It is unclear what role Alasdair Ritchie, the

president of TBWA Europe, will play in the new set-up.



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