JWT names Craig Davis as European creative head

J. Walter Thompson has poached Saatchi & Saatchi's regional executive creative director for Asia-Pacific, Craig Davis, to be its European creative chief.

The 42-year-old is unknown in the UK but is one of the most awarded Asia-based creatives. He joins as the chief creative officer of JWT EMEA, although the network has no overall global creative chief. He will succeed the current executive creative director, Gordon Torr, whose future is unclear.

An Australian native, Davis has recently been linked to a number of senior agency positions, with rumours including a possible reunification with David Droga - now the worldwide executive creative director at Publicis - who Davis replaced at Saatchis in 1999 after quitting his own agency in Sydney.

The reputation of the Saatchis network has fared well under Davis over the past five years: in 2000, the Hong Kong office was victorious in the Kam Fan for the second year in a row, winning the top accolade of the 4As Creative Awards for the Vitasoy TVC campaign"conversational/crying/dumb". In the industry magazine Campaign Brief Asia 2003, the network was ranked as the number one creative network in the region.

Davis is expected to join in late March. His arrival continues the revamp of JWT's creative department, launched in the summer with the appointment of Nick Bell to executive creative director. Bell will not report to Davis.

Davis' appointment is a further sign of JWT's intention to strengthen its European management line-up as the former head of the region, Michael Maedel, moves to become its worldwide president.

Earlier this month, Toby Hoare, the former chairman of Bates Europe, was handed a dual position at JWT and WPP.