Wheldon set for major UK role after BBD0 exit

A tug-of-war is likely between major agency groups wanting to hire David Wheldon, who quit abruptly as president of BBDO’s European network last week.

A tug-of-war is likely between major agency groups wanting to hire

David Wheldon, who quit abruptly as president of BBDO’s European network

last week.



Saatchi & Saatchi and Ogilvy & Mather are both thought to be keen to

recruit him following his sudden exit after a meeting with Jean-Michel

Goudard, BBDO’s international president.



Wheldon’s departure ends a less than happy 22 months at BBDO for the

former Coca-Cola worldwide ad director, who is known to have been

frustrated at the lack of influence in his seemingly high-powered role

and a strained relationship with Goudard.



The normally blunt-speaking Wheldon, 42, declined to comment on his exit

and was expected to mull over his options - including a possible

start-up - during a holiday.



Wheldon was recruited by BBDO amid a blaze of publicity in November

1996.



Since then, the one-time managing director of Lowe Howard-Spink is said

to have found it difficult to make his mark in a loosely controlled

dollars 4 billion-billing European confederation driven by

independent-minded agencies such as the UK’s Abbott Mead Vickers

BBDO.



’It wasn’t so much that David wasn’t right for the job, more a fact that

he was hired for a job which didn’t really exist,’ a BBDO source

said.



’He found it hard to connect with the principal players.’



Wheldon is said to have told friends that he was frustrated by what he

saw as BBDO’s inability to fulfil its potential and its failure to put

its best agency chiefs into top-level management posts.



Industry sources claim Wheldon has already been sounded out by agencies

including O&M, which is said to be seeking a senior figure to stabilise

the agency in the wake of its loss of millions of pounds of Ford

business.



Saatchis, where Wheldon worked for five years, is also reported to be

hunting a frontman. Kevin Roberts, Saatchis worldwide chief executive,

said: ’I’d like to meet Wheldon - but I haven’t.’



Perspective, p12.



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