Berndt, who was promoted to the new position of managing director from group creative director in March last year, will now manage Google Creative Lab in New York, building relationships between marketers, media agencies and brands. He joins the lab later this year, and will report to David Lawee, vice-president of marketing.
The digital giant said Berndt would have two specific areas of responsibility: in developing in-house creative work for Google's products and services across business and consumer markets; and working with other agencies on a creative level with its current services.
It is believed Berndt's appointment is part of a wider campaign by the search giant to move into areas of client consultation. Google has denied it is setting up its own creative consultancy agency, despite hiring a raft of creative staff over the last 12 months.Google presently offers advertising and planning services for clients, but it is understood that the new division Berndt will be heading up will be an extension of the present services on offer.
Berndt was made co-president of Ogilvy & Mather's New York office in May, having joined the agency in 1999 as a copywriter. Prior to this, he worked on Nike and Microsoft accounts at Wieden & Kennedy, and then headed up TBWA/Chiat/Day, where he worked on Apple's relaunch under the "Think Different" strapline.
His departure will come as a blow to the agency, which also lost its creative director Mark Bernath to Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam in August.