CLOSE-UP: NEWSMAKER/PAUL JACKSON - Motivating the troops to restore O&M staff morale - O&M's Paul Jackson thinks success comes from team building

After a race against a number of other internal candidates, Paul Jackson has grabbed the top slot at Ogilvy & Mather. His appointment as the chief executive of the London agency may stop short of the group chairman and chief executive role vacated by Paul Simons, but that's hardly surprising. After last month's high profile ousting of Simons and the unavoidable fallout, it's doubtful that O&M will give that level of power to one person for some time, if ever again.

As the executive management director for Ford of Europe, Jackson was one of the first tipped to replace Simons. And he wastes no time demonstrating his qualifications as an exponent of Ogilvy culture, qualifications his predecessor supposedly lacked.

When asked if he's disappointed about the lack of a group role, Jackson immediately trots out the party line: "We are very centred on 360 branding. There are two ways of doing this: you can either impose it from the top or you can have people in the various component parts who understand 360 and can make it work. So I don't think it makes a lot of difference to be honest where I sit. My task is to help make the company, in its broadest sense, more 360. I can do that quite easily from inside the agency as much as I could from anywhere else. I don't think the title is so important, it's what you do."

Mike Walsh, the chairman of Ogilvy, Europe, the Middle East and Africa doesn't rule out a wider role: "It's a bit of a step-up for Paul. I want to sort out the agency first."

Jackson has plenty of account handling experience. Between an early stint at O&M in 1980 and his return to the agency in July 1999, he spent 12 years running the Rover account at Bates Dorland.

In 1992, Jackson left Bates and took the Rover account to KMM, where he became a director, surviving the agency's 1995 acquisition by SP Lintas before joining Dewe Rogerson in 1997.

Account handling may be second nature to him, but dealing with the media clearly isn't. Jackson is nervous during this interview, although like a good salesman he manages to keep it out of his voice. He shifts in his seat and crosses his arms throughout - and leaps for a scripted O&M response whenever one is available.

"There is a lack of morale in the building,

he says of his plans to rebuild the agency. "You can sense it. People are a bit deflated. The priority is simply to get people moving in the same direction, to get them to want to be part of the company and its future. If we do that a lot of the other stuff will follow behind."

Jackson admits that the agency's creative work and client relationships need improving, "but this should all follow on from having a highly motivated team".

Teams are important to Jackson; he calls them his "troops". Former colleagues of Jackson say that his military, old-school style of management indeed inspires loyalty from those he directs. He seems most comfortable with a leadership style that harks back to World War One, exclaiming: "I will never ask the team to do something I wouldn't do myself.

"I have a skill to knit teams together - not least of all the Ford team. That was not in a happy state when I came here,

Jackson continues. "All you have to do is give it some leadership and be accountable. I'll give the team 100 per cent commitment but they will have to do the same. You have to do this by talking to the troops, by getting on with them, by understanding what motivates them. You can't do it from your office - you have to go out there working with the guys."

Is that really all it takes? Former colleagues agree that Jackson is very personable, but one holds no quarter when describing his leadership ability: "I will be staggered if Paul is the most senior person at O&M in a year's time. I don't think he has the intellectual ability to command the respect of the agency. People won't be trembling in their boots at the thought of Paul Jackson leading O&M to the bright sunlit uplands. It's bizarre!

"Having a strong hold on the Ford account is an appalling reason to make him chief executive."

But Jackson says running Ford is no different to running O&M. "It's identical,

he insists. "Ford is about building a team and culture, problem solving, international business, getting on with partners, moving people in the same direction. I see no difference here."

Jackson's promotion has thrown up very specific issues for the Ford account. Tony Grigg, the head of the UK Ford task, will take on part of the European role, but you get the feeling that Jackson doesn't want to give up too much. Holding the keys to a top car account has been his ace in the hole throughout his career.

He will have to widen his focus though, if he's to repair morale ahead of a planned new business drive next year. "By Christmas I would like to feel that we have made some significant leaps,

he says.


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