NEW YORK In the latest effort to grow internationally, Dentsu Inc. has hired Jim Kelly, founding partner of London’s Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, for the new position of regional director at Dentsu Europe.
Kelly is the first local manager to oversee the region, which had been managed at the holding company’s Tokyo headquarters. In April, Tim Andree, executive officer, Dentsu Inc. who is also president, CEO, Dentsu Holdings USA, was given expanded oversight of Europe and South America. In his new post, Kelly reports to Andree.
“Dentsu has made a serious commitment to extending our strengths and capabilities worldwide,” Andree said in a statement. “Central to that is acquiring great talent through new hires and acquisitions. I have every confidence Jim will be a driving force in furthering that ambition in Europe, and we are all thrilled to see someone of his great talent and ability join the Dentsu family.”
Since Andree’s appointment as U.S. CEO in 2006, he has overhauled Dentsu’s American operations and acquired digital agency Attik in 2007 and independent shop mcgarrybowen last year. Now he is setting his sights on the U.K. and Europe.
Kelly’s appointment coincides with Dentsu’s latest effort to restructure its U.K. operations and establish itself in the market. In 2000, Dentsu bought one of Britain’s most famous agencies, Collett Dickenson Pearce — known for its work on behalf of clients like Hamlet Cigars — which had begun to fall on hard times. The holding company combined it with another Dentsu-owned shop, Travis Sully, to create cdp-travissully, London. That shop, which works for Japanese clients like Canon, Hitachi and Uniqlo, is now being rebranded as Dentsu London. Simon North continues as CEO of the agency.
Kelly’s first priority is building a hub for Dentsu in the U.K., which will include a new London presence for Attik, which works for clients like Coca-Cola and Virgin Atlantic, in addition to its Leeds office. Kelly also has a mandate to create a new European headquarters, in London, to coordinate existing Dentsu agencies in the EU, including those in Brussels, Belgium; Dusseldorf, Germany; and Milan, Italy. Dentsu, which works for clients like Toyota, Lexus, Goldwell (KPSS), Shiseido, Media Markt and Skoda in Europe, is also looking for additional acquisitions in the region.
Most recently, Kelly was a joint managing partner at United London before parent WPP Group closed the agency in April 2007, following the loss of its major client, Sky. He has also served as CEO of Young & Rubicam, London, and worked at U.K. agencies Saatchi & Saatchi and Gold Greenlees Trott.