Ogilvy & Mather is to open a central London office – as well as spending £4.5m refurbishing its Canary Wharf headquarters – as part of a relaunch of the agency under new chief Paul Simons.
The opening of the centrally located office is recognition that O&M is isolated at its Canary Wharf HQ. European management – including Mike Walsh, chief executive officer of O&M Europe, Africa and the Middle East – may be based there.
Simons outlined his strategy last week to take the troubled agency to the number one spot in the UK by adding £100m of new business over the next three years. He was poached three months ago from TBWA to resuscitate the agency, which has lost leading clients such as Guinness and much of its Ford work.
Plans include importing a new global corporate logo from New York, which uses the signature of founder David Ogilvy.
O&M is also to start a new agency in a joint-venture to handle conflicting business. A new company called AdWorks will provide fast turnover work for high volume clients. A staff council is to be established to pick up ideas from younger people at the agency.
Simons says: “Ogilvy & Mather has been a little bit like a stuffed shirt – I thought there would be a boardroom with oak panels. I discovered a massive gap between younger people and the board.”
A new executive creative director will be hired to replace Patrick Collister, who becomes vice-chairman, as well as two new business executives and a deputy planning director. Victoria Thomas has been hired from TBWA GGT Simons Palmer as head of marketing. David Muir, head of new business, is taking time out to study an MBA (MW April 22).