Bartle Bogle Hegarty has opted to fill its vacant executive
creative director’s role from within by handing control of the creative
department to John O’Keefe.
John Hegarty, BBH’s group chairman and worldwide creative director,
trawled potential candidates in the US, mainland Europe and in the UK
before deciding against bringing in an outsider.
Hegarty goes back to the US at the end of the month but will return
permanently in March next year to extend the global creative role he
already undertakes for Polaroid to other accounts.
Hegarty said: ’We’ve appointed from outside before and we haven’t always
been successful although it doesn’t mean we won’t do it again. John
isn’t only an instinctive creative but can articulate his ideas.
’That’s important if you’re going to run a department.’
O’Keefe, 38, who has spent ten years at BBH, the past two as creative
director, was thought to be in pole position to succeed Bruce Crouch,
one of five senior directors who quit in May to launch the Soul
start-up. O’Keefe began his career as a copywriter at Saatchi & Saatchi
in 1984, winning Campaign gold and silver awards for work on British
Airways, Swan lager and the NSPCC. At BBH he added to his award tally
with campaigns for Audi, Levi’s, One2One and K Shoes.
O’Keefe described the changes in the department as ’not revolutionary
but more than evolutionary’ and insisted he was relaxed about working in
the shadow of Hegarty, the architect of BBH’s creative culture.
’It would be more of a problem if he wasn’t around,’ he said. ’I don’t
have the answer to every question.’