Lowe’s Wright Unveils Vision for IPG Shop

NEW YORK Lowe worldwide chief executive Tony Wright outlined his vision for the Interpublic Group agency on Wednesday, putting the spotlight on 11 offices in key markets as well as Lowe’s healthcare division.

Wright also eliminated two global posts and a layer of regional management, which appears to give himself and key office CEOs more power.

The global posts being eliminated are worldwide chairman (Adrian Holmes) and global chief marketing officer (Mark Goldstein). Goldstein on Friday confirmed that he was leaving Lowe, and Holmes previously relinquished his duties as worldwide creative director to the London-based Matthew Bull.

The key offices and Lowe Healthcare, which Wright has dubbed “Lighthouses,” will drive creative development on behalf of clients such as Unilever, Nestle and Johnson & Johnson.

Those Lowe offices are: New York; London; Paris; Stockholm, Sweden; Bangkok, Tailand; Shanghai, China; Mumbai, India; Hamburg, Germany; Mexico City; Sydney, Australia; and Vienna, Austria, the agency said.

Lowe has been developing a plan to overhaul its global corporate structure since at least last summer [Adweek, Sept. 6].

Talk of reorganizing Lowe dates back more than a year to when Jerry Judge was worldwide CEO. Previous plans suggested streamlining the agency to as few as 15 offices from the current 85, according to sources. But in a memo to staffers, Wright said, “I’d like to put an end to the rumors suggesting that Lowe has to become smaller in order to grow. There will be no office closures as a result of this refocus.”

Offices outside the key 11 markets, however, will now report to the CEOs in those markets, the agency said. For example, the CEO in Vienna now oversees offices in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Regional chiefs, such as Ian Creasey (Europe, Middle East and Africa), Nigel Gilbert (Asia) and Peter Minnium (Latin America), are being reassigned to other tasks, the agency said. London-based Creasey will become president of a new division called Lowe Activation, leading efforts on behalf of clients that Lowe shares with sister shops such as Draft, R/GA, Initiative and FutureBrand, the agency said. The new roles for Gilbert and Minnium have not been clearly defined.