Roger Edwards to quit as Grey boss

Roger Edwards is quitting as chairman of the Grey operations in London, ending a 17-year association with the group whose expansion he masterminded.

Roger Edwards is quitting as chairman of the Grey operations in

London, ending a 17-year association with the group whose expansion he

masterminded.



Once mooted as a possible successor to Grey’s septuagenarian worldwide

boss, Ed Meyer, Edwards is believed to have resigned in frustration at

the blocks on his path to a more senior and wider role within the

network.



Lawyers for both parties are understood to be negotiating a financial

settlement with the likelihood that Edwards, who is on a year’s notice

period, will leave within three months.



Edwards, who was unavailable for comment, is understood to have

submitted a letter of resignation a year ago only to have it torn up

with a promise of extra responsibilities.



But this month his second plea to go was accepted by John Shannon,

president of the Grey International network. Shannon was reluctant to

comment on Wednesday, saying: ’There are certain discussions in progress

with Roger but I can say no more at the moment.’



Under Edwards’ leadership, Grey London has used its profitable core of

blue-chip clients, including Procter & Gamble, Mars and SmithKline

Beecham, to fuel an aggressive acquisition programme.



During that time, Grey has risen from the depths of the Campaign top 30

to its current number 12 ranking, while developing its direct marketing,

PR and media offerings.



But with the appointment of the Californian, Steve Blamer, as chief

executive a year ago, the London agency has undergone a significant

change in management style. Also, following the restructure of the group

and the absorption into the main agency of Mellors Reay & Partners,

Edwards is said to be keen to find a new challenge.



Grey is thought unlikely to replace him but may instead arrange for its

UK subsidiary companies to report directly to the network’s New York

headquarters.



Edwards, renowned for his intense loyalty to clients, began his agency

career at McCann-Erickson and Davidson Pearce, before joining Leo

Burnett as managing director in 1977. He was hired by Grey as chief

executive in 1982, becoming group chairman two years later.



Sources say that, at 57, he considers himself too old to be a candidate

for Meyer’s job, which will almost certainly go to an American, possibly

Blamer, who is 16 years his junior.



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