As it turned out, Michael Frohlich, Ogilvy UK’s chief executive, didn’t have to look very far to find a replacement for chief creative officer Mick Mahoney (although he’d no doubt dispute that it is a direct replacement). In Dede Laurentino, a former executive creative director at TBWA\London and a global executive creative director on Ogilvy’s global – and award-winning – Dove account, he will hopefully have found someone a bit more compliant than his predecessor, who never really looked convinced by the restructure.
The appointment of Laurentino, following the promotion of Clare Lawson to the new role of chief customer officer (a subtle shift of language that mirrors a similar trend in the client marketing world of a few years ago), will hopefully now stall the revolving doors at Sea Containers. With the Ogilvy UK management board now in place (other than the chief strategy officer), let’s hope for some management stability and for there to be a dividend for all the upheaval. And, in fairness, although the process looked messy, it is nonetheless to the credit of Frohlich that he completed what looked like a Sisyphean task in relatively short order and, seemingly, managing to keep its clients happy at the same time.
For followers of officialdom, the management structure that is now in place is quite different from the one that was announced earlier this summer – and not just in terms of names. But given that the restructure was something of a step into the unknown, that’s not that surprising. As well as Frohlich, Laurentino and Lawson, it includes chief marketing officer Nina Jasinski, chief consulting officer Ann Higgins and chief operating officer John Cornwell. So it’s a lot smaller and, presumably, will have fewer voices competing for attention.
The agency has evolved organically, reacting to the internal changes, with three teams designed to deliver on the promise of creativity at every touchpoint – it’ll no doubt be interesting to see how this functions. In theory, Laurentino, supported by his executive creative directors, Charlie Wilson and Jules Chalkley, will be creative channel agnostic, able to draw on each of the disciplines – whether that be PR, CRM, social or whatever.
Frohlich was wise enough to draw on the words of David Ogilvy when discussing the difficult change and described the agency as built on "experimentation with ideas, governed by intuitive hunches". Ogilvy also said that "Leaders grasp nettles" and Frohlich has been unafraid to do this, despite the stings along the way. Hopefully, it’ll all have been worth it – WPP’s Mark Read is bound to be watching to see if it can be replicated or repeated elsewhere.
Jeremy Lee is contributing editor at Campaign