NEWS: BBDO tempts Wheldon

David Wheldon stunned Coca-Cola this week by resigning from his new position as director of marketing greater Europe to become the president of BBDO Europe, the network that handles the arch-rival Pepsi brand.

David Wheldon stunned Coca-Cola this week by resigning from his new

position as director of marketing greater Europe to become the president

of BBDO Europe, the network that handles the arch-rival Pepsi brand.



Coke had announced Wheldon’s role, which was in itself a surprise, two

weeks ago. He was to succeed Pat Garner, who is moving to take up a

senior role in the Philippines.



Previously, Wheldon had been the company’s first worldwide director of

advertising, reporting to Sergio Zyman, the chief marketing officer of

Coca-Cola.



It had been rumoured for some time that Wheldon favoured a return to

Europe from the US. However, the Coke job, despite its title, was based

in Atlanta.



A Coca-Cola spokeswoman said: ‘I can confirm that he has resigned.’



Wheldon’s new role means that he will join the BBDO worldwide board,

reporting to Jean-Michel Goudard, the worldwide president. He will take

bottom-line responsibility for 32 countries in Europe, the Middle East

and Africa, in addition to multi-national client responsibilities in a

portfolio that includes Apple, CPC, Henkel, Mars and Wella, as well as

Pepsi.



Goudard, who has tried to hire Wheldon before, said that ‘for a decent

period of time for ethical reasons’ Wheldon would not work on Pepsi.



He added: ‘I am particularly interested in his experience in global

branding as both a client and agency man.’



Goudard also confirmed that BBDO’s European headquarters will move from

Paris to London, and that Wheldon’s appointment is effective from

January 1997.



Wheldon, who could not be reached in Atlanta before Campaign went to

press, joined Coca-Cola in September 1993 from Lowe Howard-Spink, where

he had been managing director.



During his time at Coke working for Zyman, Wheldon was responsible for

developing relationships with some 30 agencies worldwide, as the soft-

drinks giant moved away from previous network arrangements with the

Interpublic Group’s agencies.



Before Lowes, Wheldon was deputy managing director at WCRS and an

account director at Saatchi and Saatchi. Originally he was a teacher,

but said he gave up that career when he discovered how much people in

the advertising industry earned.



His appointment surprised staff at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, but it will

have little management impact because the Omnicom-owned BBDO has only a

minority stake in the London agency.



Meanwhile, Coke will now have to fill what was to have been Wheldon’s

new position. His former post, as global head of advertising, has now

passed to the former vice-president of Coca-Cola China, Ian Rowden.



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