Editorial: Hayward needs to make friends fast as JWT boss

The best advice anybody could give Guy Hayward, poised to become the next chief executive of JWT London, is to be his own person. The best advice anybody could give JWT London is to give him enough space and oxygen.

The fact that the agency took ten months to fill what would once have been regarded as one of the UK industry's plum jobs is telling. Doubtless a few candidates must have chosen to walk away having decided that, as agents of change, the odds were stacked against them.

Hayward's success or failure will depend on how well he handles a number of relationships. Crucial among these are JWT's account barons who run large chunks of global business out of the London agency but are almost autonomous of it. These managers have great power and have been known to redistribute business away from the London agency unless their demands are met. Hayward will need to make these power brokers feel part of his operation and convince them that they have a part to play in its success.

At the same time, he must not allow himself to be dragged into what are two sharply divided camps - the reformers, who advocate radical change, and the traditionalists, who would like the agency to remain true to its famous heritage.

Equally important is what sort of rapport Hayward can establish with some key players. One is Toby Hoare, the JWT Europe chairman, who has a commanding presence in London but must now ensure his appointee is given his head. The other is Russell Ramsey, the agency's creative chief. A lot will ride on how well this pairing can coalesce.

What's more, Hayward can expect much scrutiny from Sir Martin Sorrell, the boss of JWT's WPP parent, whose presence in London always ensures the local JWT agency gets a disproportionate amount of attention.

Lastly, he needs to make the agency of Jeremy Bullmore and Stephen King famous for the depth of its talent once again. No pressure then.