Heekin will work alongside the 78-year-old Ed Meyer, who will remain as the chief executive of Grey Global Group, the holding company acquired by WPP in March.
Meyer, who has run Grey since 1970, is expected to step down when his contract expires in 2006. By this time, insiders believe WPP's chief executive, Sir Martin Sorrell, will have moved Grey's media network MediaCom into Group M, leaving Grey as a strictly advertising concern.
Heekin is believed to have been in talks with Sorrell since March. Earlier this month, he vacated his position as the chairman and chief executive of the Havas-owned Euro RSCG network, after being overlooked for a senior position on the Havas board.
Heekin, a former chairman and chief executive of McCann Erickson Worldwide, was replaced at Euro RSCG by the head of the network's New York office, David Jones.
- Comment, page 36.