McCann-Erickson has prised Ben Langdon, one of British advertising’s
most high-profile and controversial managers, out of Collett Dickenson
Pearce to take charge of its London office.
The coup ends five months of secret talks between Langdon and David
Warden, the McCanns chairman, and curtails Langdon’s eventful 31 months
putting the troubled CDP back on track.
His reign there drew to a close on Wednesday, when Langdon, 33, told
Kazuo Miyakawa, the European chairman of CDP’s Dentsu parent, that he
was quitting as chief executive to become chief executive and managing
director of McCanns.
The news is likely to spark a reshuffle at CDP, with Chris MacLeod -
hired from Saatchi and Saatchi to be joint deputy managing director -
tipped to take Langdon’s place and John Salmon, the agency’s president,
returning on a full-time basis.
Langdon’s imminent arrival at McCanns provides what Warden calls ‘the
last piece of the jigsaw’ for his management front line. It fills the
gap left by Mark Gault, who moved last September to take charge of some
of the McCann network’s biggest accounts and has just been appointed to
run the Tokyo office.
But the outcome will dismay some of McCanns’ senior managers, who will
be disappointed that Warden chose to look beyond the agency to hire
Langdon, rather than appoint someone from within.
Warden said: ‘There are a lot of people in the agency who don’t know
Ben. But when they meet him they will understand why I did what I did.’
Langdon claimed that had it not been for Warden’s offer, he would have
been happy to stay with CDP and Dentsu into the next decade. But he is
thought to have been frustrated by Dentsu’s limited success at
introducing Japanese clients into Europe, and to have decided that
McCanns, with a well-established European network, will be a better
vehicle for his ambitions.