Lowe Worldwide has confirmed that chief executive Steve Gatfield is leaving the network imminently, as first predicted in Marketing Week. It comes ahead of his contract expiring next April.
It is understood that the network began a search for his replacement at the start of the year (MW January 31), which is being overseen by Michael Roth, Interpublic Group chief executive, and Tony Wright, Lowe Worldwide chairman.
In an email to network staff, seen by Marketing Week, Roth says: “The decision to begin a search and ensure smooth management transition has been in the works for some time in light of the upcoming lapse of Steve’s contract. All the key parties at both Lowe and IPG have been engaged constructively in this process, which is being led by Tony and me.
It is not clear if Gatfield, who took over the role in March 2006, is leaving IPG altogether but sources have suggested that he was seeking opportunities outside of the network as he is keen to return to Asia.
The London agency has been without a chief executive since the departure of Amanda Walsh at the start of the year. It is currently led by Ed Morris, executive creative director, and chief strategy officer Rebecca Morgan.
It is thought that Gatfield’s replacement, who is expected to be based in London, will be announced shortly.