Well, we got forwarded another memo that’s been confirmed legit sent to Y&R staff from CEO David Sable, who’s sent the sad news that chairman emeritus Ed Noonan Ney, who’s been with the agency in various stints since 1951, has passed away at the age of 88. Here’s the memo we got today.
“From David Sable (Y&R)
This morning we received the very sad news that Y&R’s former chairman Ed Ney passed away.
Many of you know him and worked with him. Many more of you simply know how legendary he was in the business.
Ed served as Y&R’s CEO and then Chairman from 1970 to 1989, having joined the agency in 1951.
In the 1970s, Ed was the first to understand that in a changing marketplace our clients would benefit from a full range of marketing communications disciplines. He began acquiring companies, pioneering integrated communications – what he called The Whole Egg back then – and acquired the companies that became Young & Rubicam Group.
It was a radical concept and transformed not only our agency but the entire industry.
After Y&R, Ed served as the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, where he played a key role in efforts to expand the U.S. – Canada Free Trade Agreement to Mexico. He spent some time after at Burson-Marsteller, chairing their worldwide Board of Advisors.
But we were delighted in 1999 when we persuaded him to come back to our building as Y&R Chairman Emeritus, where he has remained as an inspiration and friend to so many of us.
When I started at Y&R in 1976, it was in the golden days of Ed Ney’s tenure. His charm was magnetic; his generosity, magnanimous. Ed was known to walk the building, where he talked to everyone he passed, knew everyone’s name and always had a question or kind observation to share.
He was a great writer of notes – Thank Yous to everyone for things large and small. And he was a perfectionist: anyone sending him a memo with a typo got it returned with a large circle around the mistake.
All of this came out of his great love of our agency, of our industry, but most of all love of the people he worked with every day. They fueled his enthusiasm and he fueled ours.
He will be dearly missed.
During his time in the ’70’s at Y&R, Ney began acquiring companies, pioneering integrated communications – whathe then coined the term, The Whole Egg – and acquired the companies that became Young & Rubicam Group. He rejoined Y&R in 1999 as chairman emeritus.