Ex-Wendy’s CMO Rowden Lands at Saatchi

NEW YORK Former Wendy’s chief marketing officer Ian Rowden has landed at the agency he hired last year to lead the restaurant’s brand efforts: Saatchi & Saatchi.

Rowden, 47, who stepped down from Wendy’s in December, has become chairman and CEO of Saatchi’s Asia-Pacific region. Rowden will be based in his native Sydney, Australia, and report to worldwide CEO Kevin Roberts. He starts Feb. 20.

“Asia is experiencing change on a quantum scale, with progress fueled by education, hard work, timeless values and vast numbers of people,” said Roberts, in a statement. “Someone with Ian’s unique ability and knowledge of the region and its dynamics will be an asset in building success and strong emotional connections.”

Previously, Jim O’Mahony oversaw the region as CEO for China, Russia, India and Brazil. O’Mahoney is leaving Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi next month to become managing director of Inspiros in New Zealand. Mary Baglivo, chairman and CEO of the Americas, will absorb his Brazil oversight and Russia will become part of EMEA CEO Simon Francis’ duties.

At Wendy’s, Rowden hired Saatchi and MDC Partners’ Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners in January 2007, with Saatchi becoming lead agency and Kirshenbaum taking on breakfast and late-night efforts. Saatchi subsequently launched a campaign that featured characters wearing a red wig and trumpeting Wendy’s “fresh, never frozen” and “hot and juicy” burgers.

Last month, however, Wendy’s pulled the plug on the red wig effort after eight months and shifted lead duties to Kirshenbaum, whose new, food-focused work bears the tagline, “Waaay better than fast food. It’s Wendy’s.”

Before Wendy’s — where he spent three years — Rowden was CMO at Callaway Golf
Co. in Carlsbad, Calif. Earlier in his career, he spent 16 years at Coca-Cola, where he rose to director of worldwide advertising before leaving in 2000.