Alex Leikikh, formerly the chief executive of Mullen, will lead the combined entity as worldwide chief executive. Michael Wall, previously chief executive of Lowe & Partners, will exit the company after a brief period.
The merger was spurred by Mullen’s need for a more expansive network to serve clients globally, Leikikh said.
He continued: "We’ve grown significantly over the past few years, and now we find ourselves with clients who are asking us to represent them in many international markets. So we need to find a way to be able to service our clients.
"Number two, we’re only as good as the talent we have. We are on a constant hunt for our talent and a lot of that talent resides outside the U.S."
The combined agency will boast a staff of about 6,400. No offices are being closed and no employees will lose their positions. "This is not about cost," Leikikh said.
Although each agency represents auto brands, the merger creates no client conflicts, Leikikh said, because Volkswagen’s Seat, which tapped Lowe as its creative agency in 2013, does not operate in the same regions as Acura, a Mullen client since that same year.
Mullen’s offices in Boston, Los Angeles and Winston-Salem will immediately rebrand as Mullen Lowe. The digital shop Lowe Profero and Mullen’s media agency, Mediahub, will both report into the new brand.
The leadership team for the Mullen Lowe Group will be drawn from both agencies, IPG said. Lowe’s Jose Miguel Sokoloff will retain his position as chairman of the global creative council.
This is not the first time Lowe, one of the agency world’s oldest brands, has been merged with another entity. In 1999 it was joined Ammirati Puris Lintas, and in 2009 joined forces with Deutsch – a move that ultimately ended in divorce.
Wall took over as worldwide chief executive at Lowe in 2009 following a nine-year stint at Fallon. It is not yet known where he will be going once he exits the company.
Lowe was surprised by the sudden loss of Cadillac to Publicis Groupe last year. Major Lowe clients include Unilever, Mattel and Lenovo.
Mullen, which is based in Boston, was founded in 1970 and today has four offices in the US following the recent closing of its Pittsburgh outpost. Leikikh was named chief executive in late 2013, succeeding the longtime head Joe Grimaldi. The agency’s current clients include Acura, Zappos and JetBlue.