Grey London brings in AMV's Adrian Rossi as creative chairman

Rossi will oversee all creative development.

Rossi: splits with AMV creative partner Grieve
Rossi: splits with AMV creative partner Grieve

Grey London has poached Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO's joint executive creative director Adrian Rossi to be its chairman.

In the new role, Rossi will oversee all creative development, help set and implement the creative vision, spearhead the recruitment of top talent and guide new-business creative efforts, working closely with Eduardo Maruri, president and chief executive of Grey Europe.

Rossi, who has been joint executive creative director at AMV since 2013, will report to John Patroulis, worldwide chief creative officer.

Vicki Maguire, who is well-respected in the industry, continues in her role as chief creative officer of Grey London. But Rossi's appointment will help add some creative firepower to Grey following joint chief creative officer Caroline Pay's move to Headspace earlier this year.

Maguire said of Rossi's appointment: "I feel like all my Christmases have come at once. Bring on the New Year."

The hire will help fill a leadership vacuum at the London office, after chief executive Leo Rayman shifted into a new role to run Grey's new global consulting arm in June. The agency is still on the hunt for a UK chief executive. 

It also restores creative leadership at the top of Grey London following the 2016 departure of creative chief and chairman Nils Leonard to launch an agency with Grey London chief executive Lucy Jameson and managing director Natalie Graeme.

The appointment follows two major mergers at parent company WPP that saw long-standing creative agency brands J Walter Thompson and Y&R fused with VML and Wunderman respectively.

However, it seems Grey is safe from a similar fate, after WPP chief Mark Read told Campaign yesterday that no more major agency network mergers are planned. Read also pledged to increase investment in "creativity, technology and talent" by redeploying cost savings from 3,500 job cuts, equal to around 3% of the group's workforce.

Michael Houston, worldwide chief executive of Grey, said: "Adrian is making some of the most awarded and inspiring work in the world right now and he pairs an impressive creative pedigree with a humanity that shines in both the work he makes and in the way he leads."

Patroulis added: "I think he’ll be an amazing leader for Grey London, working with a great team already in place to help push where we’re headed as an agency and as an industry. We’re lucky to have him."

The move means Rossi is splitting from long-term creative partner Alex Grieve. The pair worked together at Bartle Bogle Hegarty for 14 years, creating the award-winning Barnardo’s "Heroin baby", Lynx "Billions", Audi "Fish" and "Lost lives" for St John Ambulance.

Rossi and Grieve joined AMV in 2011 as creative partners from Glue Isobar, where they were creative directors for a year.

At AMV, the duo have created work such as Guinness "Cloud" and the "You’re not you when you’re hungry" activity on Twitter and Google for Snickers. They were only the fourth generation of ECDs in AMV’s history, following David Abbott, Peter Souter and Paul Brazier.

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