David Wheldon, president of BBDO Europe, has abruptly resigned from the agency.
He tendered his resignation last Thursday, and left immediately without working out a notice period. It is understood that he has another position lined up which will be announced when he returns from a trekking holiday in Peru in three weeks.
His resignation, after two years in the role, is thought to spring from dissatisfaction with the way BBDO Europe is organised – “more of a patchwork than a network”, as one observer says. The network of 39 agencies across Europe and Africa is seen as very decentralised, giving Wheldon limited power to influence the direction of the agencies, in particular Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO in which BBDO holds a 27 per cent stake.
A former managing director of Lowe Howard-Spink, Wheldon became a client in 1993 when he joined Coca-Cola as worldwide advertising director. He worked under senior vice-president for marketing Sergio Zyman with a brief to decentralise the agency roster, hiring some 30 agencies worldwide to bring a local slant to Coke’s global message.
Wheldon shocked the ad industry when he left the soft drinks giant in 1996 to become European network boss for the Omnicom-owned BBDO, which handles the Pepsi business.
Jean-Michel Goudard, international president of BBDO Worldwide will replace Wheldon in the short term, taking up the post of chairman of BBDO Europe.
Saatchi & Saatchi has denied that Wheldon will take up a senior position there.