- Chris Jones, the chief executive of J. Walter Thompson, the world's fourth largest advertising agency network, is leaving the network for health reasons.
He is succeeded by Peter Schweitzer, 61, who will add the post of chief executive to his current role as president. Schweitzer has been the senior executive on JWT's largest account, Ford, for many years.
Jones, 45, joined JWT in 1984 from Saatchi & Saatchi where he started his career. He said: "I am immensely proud of the 16 years I have spent at JWT and of having had the opportunity to lead the business. I look forward to watching JWT and WPP enjoy continued success in the future."
Jones has been ill twice in the last two years, undergoing surgery on his eye in 1999 and for a blood clot on his leg in March this year. He was at home on extended sick leave when he resigned unexpectedly.
Martin Sorrell, the group chief executive of WPP, said that the business had performed well in recent years. He said that Jones had broadened its base into non-advertising areas, brought in good people and presided over the two best years in the agency's history for new business in 1999 and 2000. Net new business wins for the third quarter of last year were over $600 million thanks to account wins including KPMG, Sun Microsystems, I-Planet and numerous digital branding assignments.
Sorrell said: "Chris has made a lasting contribution to JWT, both during his tenure as CEO and during his long service to JWT in the United Kingdom and Continental Europe."
Schweitzer said: "We begin this new era with a solid financial foundation and an accomplished team in place for us to continue to build the company's future."