The appointment ends two years of confusion over the control of the London creative department after the agency initiated an experiment with split control in 1999. White was one of a triumvirate of creatives handed control of the department, splitting responsibility with the American Jeremy Perrot and the former DMB&B stalwart Carl LeBlond.
However, White's involvement with the £224 million-billing main agency appeared to come to an end after he was appointed to launch Magic Hat in April.
Perrot, who was left as the executive creative director of London after White's move to Magic Hat, will now end his involvement with the department and concentrate on an international role as the worldwide creative director on Nestlé and Reckitt Benckieser. Mike Court, the former creative director who ceded direct control of the department in the shake-up two years ago, will take the title of creative partner along with Jerry Green. The pair will head a creative team and report directly to White.
White's appointment was confirmed after a meeting with McCann UK's chairman and chief executive elect, Tamara Ingram, last week. His confirmation as creative chief is likely to trigger a reorganisation of the department along more traditional lines, with the role of head of art reintroduced.
"The way we're run now is different from elsewhere and I'd like to put a proper group system back in and have a bit more competition between groups," White said. "We've made the creative work better but we cannot afford to rest on our laurels."
White joined McCann in 1994 after a spell with FCB in the UK and Sydney. In recent years he has been responsible for many of the agency's high-profile campaigns. White is the copywriter on the Bacardi Breezer "Tom cat" ads and oversaw the relaunch of Snack Stop, which triggered a row with Channel 4's Today programme after a hoax by the agency.
White will remain in the role of executive creative director of Magic Hat, which continues under the management of McCann's former executive planning director, Robin Lauffer.
"The great thing about Luke is that he's come up from within the agency," Chris Hunton, McCann London's deputy chief executive, said. "He's not an ivory tower creative director, he's someone who's prepared to roll up his sleeves. He knows the work has improved but it has to get even better just to get us onto the starting line."
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