Roger Edwards is quitting as chairman of the Grey operations in
London, ending a 17-year association with the group whose expansion he
Once mooted as a possible successor to Grey’s septuagenarian worldwide
boss, Ed Meyer, Edwards is believed to have resigned in frustration at
the blocks on his path to a more senior and wider role within the
Lawyers for both parties are understood to be negotiating a financial
settlement with the likelihood that Edwards, who is on a year’s notice
period, will leave within three months.
Edwards, who was unavailable for comment, is understood to have
submitted a letter of resignation a year ago only to have it torn up
with a promise of extra responsibilities.
But this month his second plea to go was accepted by John Shannon,
president of the Grey International network. Shannon was reluctant to
comment on Wednesday, saying: ’There are certain discussions in progress
with Roger but I can say no more at the moment.’
Under Edwards’ leadership, Grey London has used its profitable core of
blue-chip clients, including Procter & Gamble, Mars and SmithKline
Beecham, to fuel an aggressive acquisition programme.
During that time, Grey has risen from the depths of the Campaign top 30
to its current number 12 ranking, while developing its direct marketing,
PR and media offerings.
But with the appointment of the Californian, Steve Blamer, as chief
executive a year ago, the London agency has undergone a significant
change in management style. Also, following the restructure of the group
and the absorption into the main agency of Mellors Reay & Partners,
Edwards is said to be keen to find a new challenge.
Grey is thought unlikely to replace him but may instead arrange for its
UK subsidiary companies to report directly to the network’s New York
Edwards, renowned for his intense loyalty to clients, began his agency
career at McCann-Erickson and Davidson Pearce, before joining Leo
Burnett as managing director in 1977. He was hired by Grey as chief
executive in 1982, becoming group chairman two years later.
Sources say that, at 57, he considers himself too old to be a candidate
for Meyer’s job, which will almost certainly go to an American, possibly
Blamer, who is 16 years his junior.