Paul Jackson emerges as new O&M head

LONDON - Mike Walsh, the European chairman of Ogilvy Group, is poised to appoint Paul Jackson to the role of chief executive of Ogilvy & Mather after the dramatic ousting of the group's former UK head, Paul Simons, last month.

Jackson, 48, is the executive management director on Ford of Europe at O&M. His new role gives him jurisdiction over the UK advertising agency only -- Walsh is understood to be continuing his hunt for a group chief executive or chairman.

Walsh refused to comment on the appointment. Sources close to the agency suggest that its key Ford client has required reassurance that Jackson's promotion would not impact on the network's ability to handle its £80 million account. Tony Grigg runs the Ford account in the UK.

Jackson joined O&M in July 1999 having run the Rover account for 12 years at Bates Dorland, Kevin Morley Marketing and Ammirati Puris Lintas. His was an early name in the frame for the chief executive's job, but Ogilvy is also said to have considered Tony Wright, the chief planning officer of Ogilvy New York, for the role.

Walsh has been attempting to rebuild the UK Group's management and confidence since the dismissal of Simons at the beginning of March (Campaign, 8 March).

Mark Earls, formerly the executive planning director at O&M, was promoted to the role of group planning director as part of Walsh's programme. This was followed by the appointment of David Muir as the group development director and Mike Iles as the group finance director earlier this month.

In March, after the departure of Simons, Walsh stated that rebuilding the senior management at Ogilvy was his priority: "I will be building, immediately, a much more experienced client management structure," he said.

Walsh openly criticised Simons' management style and said that it left the company with no clear successors to the role. "Paul didn't want people to be threats to him," Walsh said. "He loved to have a gap between him and someone below. He wanted people he could manage."

Jackson's immediate task will be to restore internal and external confidence in the agency. It missed out on the massive Reckitt Benckiser account, which this week went to J. Walter Thompson and Euro RSCG and COI Communications' British Tourist Authority business. The agency was heavily involved in both pitches when Simons' departure was announced.

The agency has also been knocked by recent revelations that its creative directors Nigel Roberts and Paul Belford cheated in the Campaign Press Awards.

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