BBH director OKeeffe set to take on WPP Group role

UPDATE: Bartle Bogle Hegarty executive creative director John OKeeffe is leaving the agency after 18 years to join WPP Group as worldwide creative director. BBH creative director Nick Gill will take over his role.

UPDATE: Bartle Bogle Hegarty executive creative director John O’Keeffe is leaving the agency after 18 years to join WPP Group as worldwide creative director. BBH creative director Nick Gill will take over his role.

Sources suggest that O’Keeffe had become “increasingly frustrated” that the role of the worldwide creative director remained “out of bounds”, and that founder Sir John Hegarty was not ready to retire yet.

O’Keeffe will take over the position left vacant by WPP worldwide creative director Neil French, who resigned three years ago amid an uproar over remarks he made at an industry event about female creative executives.

O’Keeffe joined BBH in 1990 and was made executive creative director in 2000, after winning several awards for work on Audi, Levi’s and K Shoes. He started his advertising career at Saatchi & Saatchi in 1984 and made his name on work for clients such as NSPCC and Swan lager.

BBH reshuffled its management team early this year (MW October 25, 2007) when it appointed Gwyn Jones, the former chief executive of its New York office as chief operating officer. Jones replaced Simon Sherwood, who was promoted as group chief executive, taking over from Nigel Bogle.

Bogle has since assumed the role of group chairman, while Hegarty’s position as worldwide creative director has remained unchanged.

Last year WPP-owned JWT poached BBH deputy executive creative director Russell Ramsey as executive creative director of the London agency.

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