Steve Gatfield takes helm of Lowe from Tony Wright

IPG executive vice-president assumes control in bid to revive the ailing network.

Steve Gatfield, Interpublic Group's executive vice-president of network operations, has been handed Tony Wright's job as the chief executive of Lowe Worldwide in a bid to reverse the fortunes of the ailing network.

Wright now moves into the position of Lowe chairman. In his new role, he will report to Gatfield. Wright previously reported to the IPG chief executive, Michael Roth.

Gatfield, who has close ties with Roth, was parachuted into the network to support Wright last month (Campaign, 10 February).

Roth said: "We've been consistent and clear in stating that we must have a premier creative resource in our portfolio - a space in which Lowe does and should continue to excel.

"Steve brings a unique set of skills to his new post. He is a strategist and innovator who understands where marketing communications is headed and he has proven that he can manage creative agencies and global networks."

As well as taking on the additional responsibility of the Lowe chief executive's role, Gatfield retains his IPG role and will continue to lead global initiatives.

Gatfield, who will be based in New York, said: "I look forward to working with Tony and with the many talented individuals at Lowe.

"The quality of the agency's product is evident from its global creative rankings and its standing in major markets, including the United Kingdom, India, Sweden and much of Latin America."

Gatfield says he will work closely with Wright to improve Lowe's processes in an attempt to deliver better creativity across all communications channels. Wright, a former chief strategy and planning officer at Ogilvy & Mather New York, had no experience of running either an agency or a network before he joined Lowe in 2004.

Last year, the network lost international Unilever accounts, as well as the London agency's Tesco business.

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