Lowe to replace Gatfield as group chief executive…

Amanda%20Walsh%2C%20Lowe%20WorldwideLowe Worldwide is understood to be seeking a replacement for chief executive Steve Gatfield, who is due to quit the network in April 2009. It is thought that his departure will trigger changes in the management of the network.

The news comes as Lowe London chief executive Amanda Walsh leaves the agency after just over a year. Lowe says that there are no plans to replace Walsh, who joined in October 2006, and that Gatfield and Tony Wright, Lowe Worldwide chairman, will now be more closely involved with the London agency. They are working with Ed Morris, executive creative director, and Rebecca Morgan, chief strategy officer.

As part of the changes, London will become the lead office of Lowe Worldwide, and any replacement of Gatfield is expected to be based there.

One source says that Gatfield is not necessarily recruiting a direct replacement for himself, as the role has changed since he was drafted in to replace Wright in March 2006. It is not clear if this means there will be a dedicated head of the London agency, with responsibility for the worldwide network, or if the two roles will be separate.

Insiders say that it is not clear what the role will be or when an appointment will be made, but expect to continue over the next 12 to 15 months.

Meanwhile, industry sources also suggest that Gatfield is seeking opportunities outside the parent company Interpublic Group. It is understood that he is interested in returning to Asia.

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