Feature

Agency head of the Year EMEA 2020: Eduardo Maruri

He has brought an unconventional approach to Grey.

Agency head of the Year EMEA 2020: Eduardo Maruri

Chief executive and president, Grey Europe

Since becoming chief executive in September 2018, Maruri has reshaped Grey Europe into a borderless network with creativity at the very top of the business. A former senior politician and football director in his native Ecuador, Maruri has brought an unconventional approach to business from his experience outside advertising.

Maruri talks publicly about the importance of failure, referencing his fall from grace in his home country. His tenure running one of the nation’s top football teams did not go as planned and he quit live, and in tears, on national TV.

That background, together with the way that he has democratised feedback at Grey through a new HR platform and transparent leadership approach, impressed the Campaign judges. They also praised Maruri’s efforts in improving Grey’s new-business record, and his passion for creativity, which has taken shape in the network’s "Creativity First" strategy.

Grey Europe’s 40% increase in new-business success when compared with 2018 was realised in 25 new accounts, including Coca-Cola and Carlsberg. This was delivered through "Borderless Creativity", the adoption of a process that encourages clients to tap into different specialities across the network and keep work within the group.

Maruri’s major ambition for the network is to ensure that creative leaders run the business – he has made a tangible start on this, introducing the European Creative Board to take care of talent, reputation and creativity in local markets. And his most significant appointment to date was to bring in Javier Campopiano as chief creative officer, global clients, and chief creative officer, Grey Europe. Campopiano has an excellent creative pedigree, having created the global "It’s a Tide ad" campaign. His role is to oversee all creative output across the region and his input is already making a noticeable difference, especially with new business.

During Maruri’s first year in the role, Grey Europe promoted five creative leaders to top management positions across the region, and addressed gender-balance issues – seven women are in new chief executive or chief creative officer roles within the network, a 40% increase when compared with 2018.

Maruri’s moves have already had an impact on the quality of the network’s output – campaigns for the United Nations, Burger King and Volvo were among its more notable work. He’s also made a splash in terms of thought leadership, taking every opportunity to find a media platform to champion the positive changes that advertising can achieve.

While there’s no doubt that some challenges remain for Grey Europe, in Maruri the network has an inspiring leader intent on business and creative transformation.

Runners-up

Andrew Dimitriou

Chief executive, VMLY&R EMEA

In 2019, Dimitriou led a comprehensive overhaul of VMLY&R’s strategic capability, driving initiatives across the EMEA region that allow brands to better understand consumers and how to reach them. He leveraged the momentum of the merger that created the network, hired more than 20 diverse and ambitious leaders across the region, played a key role in 154 new-business wins and helped to identify 50 new clients that would benefit from digital transformation. Together with his leadership team, he also focused on creating a culture where everyone can come to work as their full self, do the best work of their career and feel supported to fulfil their potential.

Pablo Walker

Chief executive, McCann Worldgroup Europe

Under Walker’s leadership, McCann in Europe has won its second EMEA Advertising Network of the Year award in a row, thanks to its business growth, substantial new-business success, strong creative reel and commitment to diversity and training initiatives. Walker won plaudits from the Campaign judges for taking on a big turnaround task at McCann and delivering years of continuous improvement, championing both diversity and excellence in client work. His acumen in developing a clear and well-delivered strategy was also something that found favour with the judges, especially given the quality of the creative output of the network in the shape of award-winning work for Ikea and Coca-Cola, among others.