Grey lures Alberts to top creative job

Grey Worldwide London has ended its four-month search for a creative director with the hiring of Dave Alberts, the creative chief of Australia's MojoPartners, in the week it axed a fifth of its workforce.

Alberts will take up his new job in July, having turned down an offer from his long-time friend, Dave Droga, to join him in New York when the Saatchi & Saatchi creative director takes creative command of the Publicis network.

Alberts, 38, will succeed Tim Mellors, who will leave Grey before the end of the year.

His appointment to lead Grey's 13 teams is the most significant so far by Garry Lace since his arrival as chief executive last November to instigate a radical restructure, which last week culminated in 48 redundancies.

The job losses across all departments and up to board level are part of Lace's efforts to reposition the agency and make it more profitable.

Lace said: "I want Dave to get our work talked about in a way it hasn't been before, help me win new business, and attract better talent. He brings with him the classic Aussie trait of being a winner as well as being great fun."

Alberts, who holds the title of regional creative partner for MojoPartners Australia and New Zealand, has been a creative director for 12 years.

During this time he has built a reputation for having a radical and unconventional approach to winning new business.

He is best known for his championing of "Adcepting" in which creatives involved in a pitch are ordered to produce concepts rather then executions.

These are researched and worked through with potential clients.

He also has a reputation for constantly injecting fresh blood into creative departments through the extensive use of freelances. "I would certainly want to continue doing that at Grey," he said.

Beginning his career as a copywriter with Ogilvy & Mather in Sydney, Alberts later joined The Hub, which was set up as a troubleshooting operation by BBDO in Asia. He has since worked as the regional creative director for BBDO Asia-Pacific and the creative director at Bates in Hong Kong.

He worked in London for a year in the early 90s at the then Chiat/Day.

Alberts' time at Mojo, in which Publicis has a 60 per cent stake, coincided with a series of significant new-business wins including Nike and Nescafe, which was taken from the Nestle roster agency, McCann-Erickson.

Alberts said: "After three years at Mojo I felt like doing something different. I had a few discussions, but I was very excited by Garry's enthusiasm and passion. It's like starting again with a clean sheet of paper."