Publicis has hired Lucy Purdy, the British-born planning chief on
Walter Thompson’s Unilever business in North America, as plan-ning
director of its London agency.
At the same time, Publicis is promoting Stephen Meade, the managing
partner responsible for its Nestle, Uni-ted Biscuits and Guinness
accounts, to succeed the departing John Wringe as client services
Purdy is ending an eight-year exile in the US to fill the gap created at
Publicis when Dan O’Donoghue, the agency’s joint chief executive and
head of planning, was appointed deputy chairman of the Publicis group in
Her appointment renews a professional association with O’Donoghue going
back to the mid-80s when she was director of media and advertising
research at Research International and he was a client.
Purdy said: ’Publicis in London isn’t as big as it should be. It should
be a Top Five agency in the UK and I hope I can bring the ideas to help
A sociology graduate, Purdy worked in consumer research in Ireland and
the UK before joining Young & Rubicam in New York in 1990. As a senior
vice-president, she was in charge of planning on the agency’s
Colgate-Palmolive business. She has worked for J. Walter Thompson since
’Publicis has done some memorable work, particularly on Renault and
McVitie’s,’ Purdy added.
Richard Hytner, the Pub-licis chief executive, said: ’Lucy brings big
brand experience, American know-how and leadership skills.’
Meade, 36, is in his second period at Publicis, which he first joined in
1988. After working for the agency in London and Paris, he had a
two-year spell as an account director at HHCL & Partners before he
rejoined Publicis in 1991. He is expected to carry some of his account
responsibilities into his extended role.
Hytner cited Meade’s ’strategic ability, his passion for brands and his
tenacity’ as the reasons behind his appointment.