Omnicom folds Proximity into Rapp

Newly formed agency will have 500 staff in UK.

Ludzker and Freeland: will lead merged agency in London
Ludzker and Freeland: will lead merged agency in London

Omnicom is dropping the Proximity name and merging the agency with Rapp to create a shop that fuses customer experience and engagement.

In the UK, the business will be led by the agencies’ former chief executives, Chris Freeland (who becomes executive chairman) and Gabby Ludzker (who remains in the role of CEO).

Mike Dodds, global CEO of Proximity, takes on the role of CEO of Rapp EMEA.

The UK agency will have 500 staff, making it one of the biggest in the Omnicom portfolio. Proximity has 208 and Rapp has 307 employees, meaning there will be some redundancies.

Campaign understands that the merged shop will have one creative leader in London but this has not yet been confirmed. John Treacy and Al Mackie currently lead the creative output for Proximity and Rapp respectively.

The move is believed to have been in the works since February, before the impact of the coronavirus outbreak hit the ad market. The newly formed agency aims to "create a more compelling proposition around data, technology and strategy".

Globally, the agency, which has 19 offices around the globe, will be led by Rapp CEO Marco Scognamiglio.

He said: "Unifying these agencies under the Rapp brand accelerates the opportunity for our clients and our talent to benefit from a breadth of skills that rival any agency’s.

"We already partner together on a number of clients globally and this will clearly establish our UK office, with more than 500 employees, as a flagship agency within the Rapp worldwide global network."

The two UK agencies are located in different buildings at Omnicom’s Bankside headquarters in London. Freeland and Ludzker will now work on how the two shops will come together on a practical level once the lockdown measures are lifted.

Rapp will continue to operate within the Omnicom Precision Marketing Group. Its CEO, Luke Taylor, said: "At OPMG, we are always strategically reviewing how we can deliver a more competitive and relevant offering to our clients. This union aligns highly complementary skills and services, and will benefit both our people and clients worldwide."