Former McCann-Erickson chief Ben Langdon is expected to resurface at Euro RSCG group in the newly created role of European chairman. The surprise move follows the launch of his start-up agency, Ben Mark Orlando, in partnership with former Euro RSCG group chairman Mark Wnek, earlier this year.
Langdon confirms that he quit the agency last week, but declines to comment on his new job. It is understood he has yet to sign a contract.
Insiders at Euro RSCG London suggest that Langdon’s appointment is not welcomed by all at the agency. “His appointment is quite unsettling, since it comes at a time when we are still bedding in the two merged agencies. The views of senior management in London were not taken into account and the appointment was made straight out of New York,” says one insider. Last year, Havas merged Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper with Partners BDDH, to form Euro RSCG Partners (MW August 14, 2003).
Langdon’s move to the Havas-owned network will reunite him with his former McCann-Erickson boss, Jim Heekin, currently president and chief operating officer of Euro RSCG Worldwide, based in New York. Langdon is expected to report directly to Heekin.
Heekin was ousted from McCann-Erickson Worldwide early last year, after investigations into the agency’s finances by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Langdon quit soon after. It was reported that he did not get on with Heekin’s replacement, John Dooner.
Langdon’s move jeopardises the future of Ben Mark Orlando, which was recently appointed to the Bacardi roster. The agency was expected to pick up business from Bacardi thanks to the drinks giant’s seven-year relationship with Langdon, while he was at McCann-Erickson.
Langdon is also thought to have been in the frame for chairman of Publicis UK. It is thought that Publicis was also interested in buying Ben Mark Orlando. Publicis has now appointed former Lowe Worldwide president Tim Lindsay as chairman.