BMP DDB plans radical restructure as Powell stands back

LONDON - BMP DDB's Chris Powell is planning to stand down from his role as chairman as part of a radical restructure of senior management designed to rejuvenate the agency.

The move is likely to involve role changes for the joint chief executives Ross Barr and Chris Cowpe as BMP chiefs hunt for a high-profile addition to its senior management line-up.

Late last year, a brief was issued by DDB Europe to the executive headhunters Korn/ Ferry International to find a chief executive for the London agency.

The brief was later retracted but it is understood that London is now looking at recruiting a senior management figure, although it is not yet clear what job title he or she will have.

James Best, the chief people officer and global strategic officer, explained: "If and when Chris decides to step back from his chairman role, he and I are considering whether his place should be taken by one of the internal team or whether we should add to the agency. No one will be leaving the strong team we have."

In terms of new business, BMP has managed to increase its pan-regional clients -- with wins such as Philips -- but it has underperformed on the domestic front.

It is understood that the loss of the £14m British Gas account to Clemmow Hornby Inge in May, which saw the termination of a 12-year relationship, sparked the decision to kick off a management shake-up.

BMP is renowned in the ad industry for employing "lifers". Cowpe and Barr joined the agency as graduates in 1972, while Powell has spent 34 years with BMP, joining six months after the agency was formed in 1969.

Powell, who is one of the most respected figures in advertising, has been crucial to BMP's standing in the business as a cerebral and professional agency. Although he is expected to retain a role at BMP, it is unlikely that it will be full time.

He was appointed to the board in 1972 and became the managing director in 1975. In 1993, he took on the two-year presidency of the IPA. In 1986, he took the role of chief executive and in 1999 assumed the chairman role.

News of the management restructure comes as DDB Worldwide looks to drop the BMP prefix as part of a global initiative to create a consistent DDB presence.

The Boase Massimi Pollitt brand was first placed above the door 35 years ago.

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