Grey London has completed its six-month search for a chief executive to replace Steve Blamer, with the appointment of Bartle Bogle Hegarty deputy chairman Martin Smith.
Smith, who has been with BBH for more than a decade, is believed to have beaten several high-profile candidates to the job. Toby Hoare is thought to have been approached prior to joining Bates UK as group chief executive, as has Piers Yeld, who heads Grey’s Procter & Gamble business in Europe. Richard Pinder, formerly managing director of Ogilvy & Mather, also had talks.
Smith is expected to work alongside Grey creative director Tim Mellors on the continued revival of the London office.
Grey chief executive and chairman Ed Meyer is expected to confirm Blamer as the new head of Grey’s troubled North America division at an agency meeting in New York later this week.
Industry insiders believe he is grooming Blamer to take over when he eventually steps down.
Industry insiders believe Smith’s experience of running multinational accounts, coupled with BBH’s reputation for creative excellence, impressed Grey.
In the mid-Eighties, Smith spent two years as managing director of BBH, but he was replaced by Gwynn Jones. Smith reverted to the deputy chairman role, overseeing new business and other external affairs.
Simon Sherwood, group managing director of BBH, says: “We have not made any decision on a replacement for Smith.”