Michael Greenlees, the chairman of the GGT Group, is to become the
heir apparent to Bill Tragos, the 63-year-old chairman and co-founder of
No official announcement is expected for several weeks, but sources
close to the group say Greenlees will take the title of chief executive
officer of an enlarged TBWA group, reporting directly to Tragos in New
Greenlees has been widely expected to take up a senior post in the
network since he sold his GGT empire to TBWA’s parent, Omnicom, in
January. TBWA is expected to merge later this year with GGT’s principal
asset, the BDDP network, which is headquartered in France.
At the same time, Jean-Marie Dru, the chief executive of BDDP, is
expected to take the top role in Europe, while Bob Kuperman, president
and chief executive of TBWA Chiat/Day in the US, will retain his
position. Greenlees was unavailable for comment as Campaign went to
press, but reports of his new role did nothing to stem rumours that the
offices of GGT and TBWA in London would merge soon.
The chairman of Omnicom, John Wren, who was on holiday this week, has
repeatedly played down speculation that GGT and TBWA would join forces
But a merger between the two worldwide networks is almost certain to go
ahead, and agency executives privately admit that a merger in London
would make sense. There is little client conflict between the agencies,
GGT and TBWA Simons Palmer, although it would mean yet more disruption
at the agencies, which were both formed out of mergers last year, when
GGT joined with BST-BDDP and TBWA linked with Simons Palmer Clemmow
According to insiders, a combined agency would be likely to see both
Paul Simons, TBWA’s existing chairman, and Paul Bainsfair, the chairman
of GGT, taking senior roles.
One option is that Simons would take on additional responsibilities in a
European group role, in which he would also oversee Omnicom’s
below-the-line capability, while Bainsfair would concentrate on running
the advertising agency in London.
Trevor Beattie, GGT’s creative director, is favourite for the top
creative role in the UK. It is unclear what role Alasdair Ritchie, the
president of TBWA Europe, will play in the new set-up.