Gallop Says Goodbye To BBH, Seeks N.Y.-Based Position

Cindy Gallop describes her first interview with Nigel Bogle in 1987 as “dreadful.” The 27-year-old was at Ted Bates in London and eager to join the account management ranks of the shop famous for its Levi’s advertising. But she remembers being nervous to meet the worldwide CEO of BBH and says they didn’t hit it off.

Gallop didn’t get the job, but—true to form—the straight-shooting, fast-talking Oxford graduate made an impression. “She said she decided she was going to work for BBH,” Bogle recalled last week, to which he replied: “I know you made the decision, but we don’t have a job.”

Gallop’s directness and candor impressed Bogle, and two years later he hired her as an account director in London. Sixteen years later, after helping to open BBH in Singapore, open and establish an office in New York and market BBH globally, Gallop, 45, is moving on. Gallop, who most recently was global chief marketing officer and U.S. chairman, has resigned and is expected to leave next month.

BBH plans to fill both jobs, most likely with two people. The Publicis Groupe-backed agency would prefer an outsider for chairman, though it will consider internal candidates, said Bogle and worldwide chairman John Hegarty. Preferably, the CMO’s role will be filled by an insider, they said.

Leaving is difficult, Gallop said, given her affection for the agency. “It’s a very emotional thing for me to leave the company that has just been fantastic to me,” she said. “I just love the place to death.”

And the feeling is mutual. Bogle and Hegarty said they were surprised by Gallop’s resignation, though they understand her reasons. Said Hegarty, “I’m very saddened by it … I’m very sorry to see her go.”

But Gallop, a U.K. native who grew up on the island of Borneo, said she wanted to travel less frequently and drop anchor in New York, which she calls her spiritual home since moving here seven years ago. That wasn’t possible as CMO, a post that involves speaking at marketing conferences and visiting far-flung clients.

Gallop moved into that role last October when Gwyn Jones arrived from the London office to take the New York reins.

Gallop’s greatest contribution to the agency was kick-starting the New York operation, Hegarty and Bogle agreed. “What she did was get BBH up, established and noticed,” said Bogle. “She has got this relentless drive and energy and enthusiasm. However tough it gets, Cindy can always see a positive in anything.”

New York opened in September 1998, with seven employees and a single client (Reebok classic). It had its share of fits and starts, but in 2002, it turned the corner, winning six out of 10 pitches and doubling its revenue. Today, the office has about 130 staffers and revenue of more than $30 million, from clients such as Levi Strauss, Unilever and Diageo.

Gallop hopes to land a leadership position at a New York shop. But Bogle said she’d be good on the client side—”CEO of Gucci!” he said, with a wink to the fashionista’s favorite designer—and Hegarty thinks she’d excel as a consultant. Still, Gallop said, “I really enjoy running and managing an agency.”