Publicis lures Lucy Purdy from US to London as planning chief

Publicis has hired Lucy Purdy, the British-born planning chief on J.

Publicis has hired Lucy Purdy, the British-born planning chief on


Walter Thompson’s Unilever business in North America, as plan-ning

director of its London agency.

At the same time, Publicis is promoting Stephen Meade, the managing

partner responsible for its Nestle, Uni-ted Biscuits and Guinness

accounts, to succeed the departing John Wringe as client services


Purdy is ending an eight-year exile in the US to fill the gap created at

Publicis when Dan O’Donoghue, the agency’s joint chief executive and

head of planning, was appointed deputy chairman of the Publicis group in

the UK.

Her appointment renews a professional association with O’Donoghue going

back to the mid-80s when she was director of media and advertising

research at Research International and he was a client.

Purdy said: ’Publicis in London isn’t as big as it should be. It should

be a Top Five agency in the UK and I hope I can bring the ideas to help

it grow.’

A sociology graduate, Purdy worked in consumer research in Ireland and

the UK before joining Young & Rubicam in New York in 1990. As a senior

vice-president, she was in charge of planning on the agency’s

Colgate-Palmolive business. She has worked for J. Walter Thompson since


’Publicis has done some memorable work, particularly on Renault and

McVitie’s,’ Purdy added.

Richard Hytner, the Pub-licis chief executive, said: ’Lucy brings big

brand experience, American know-how and leadership skills.’

Meade, 36, is in his second period at Publicis, which he first joined in

1988. After working for the agency in London and Paris, he had a

two-year spell as an account director at HHCL & Partners before he

rejoined Publicis in 1991. He is expected to carry some of his account

responsibilities into his extended role.

Hytner cited Meade’s ’strategic ability, his passion for brands and his

tenacity’ as the reasons behind his appointment.