- Andrew Robertson is being given command of BBDO's North American operations in a move that could fast-track him to the top of the Omnicom-owned network.
Within little more than 24 hours of Campaign's exclusive prediction last week that the Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO chief executive was set to depart for New York, the network confirmed his appointment as president and chief executive of BBDO North America.
It effectively puts the network under British control and is expected to lead to greater co-ordination in the search for big global clients between Robertson's North American division and his long-time mentor and friend Michael Baulk, who heads the BBDO network in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
But Robertson's departure from the UK's largest agency after six years will mean imminent changes to the management front line with Baulk resuming his role as UK chief executive "for the forseeable future".
Robertson is unlikely to be replaced directly. Instead, Baulk is believed to be looking for a senior manager capable of augmenting a team lead by Cilla Snowball, the managing director, and Peter Souter, the executive creative director.
The new job represents a huge leap for Robertson, 40, a former WCRS and Ogilvy & Mather executive, who will have direct responsibility for BBDO key offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Atlanta and report to Phil Dusenberry, chairman of BBDO's North American management group.
Insiders say it is part of a process to equip Robertson for a time when he could succeed Allen Rosenshine, BBDO's worldwide chairman.
The aim is to give him experience of working at high level in the US market, which accounts for 60 per cent of world adspend, and to bring him into regular contact with BBDO's giant US-based international clients including Mars and Gillette.
"If Robertson is successful in the US he would be the outstanding candidate to succeed Rosenshine," a network source said. "But that's still several years away."
Baulk said: "My partnership with Andrew has been the longest and closest I've had in the business. I'll miss him as a partner and a mate but I'm looking forward to working closely with him in his new role."