Y&R is now for whom Bell tolls

The wooing of Leo Burnett USA president/chief creative officer Ted Bell to become vice chairman/worldwide creative director at Young & Rubicam Advertising seems more a question of when the executive would become available than of who would fill the agency’s top creative post.
The spot had been open for more than a decade, making it perfectly conceivable that the worldwide shop, like much of its competition, could truck along just fine without having a creative torchbearer at the pinnacle of its organization.
The snaring last week of Bell, 47, who helped establish Burnett as a big shop that could also be creative, began nearly a decade ago, and the flirtations continued, on and off, for a number of years in between. “I did have a conversation (with Y&R) right after I came (to Burnett) and then about four years ago I had some pretty serious conversations and then decided not to (move),” said Bell, reached last week in Chicago as he packed for a year-long indoctrination at Y&R/London. According to one well-placed source, those talks would have led to a job quite similar to the position he just left at Burnett, with his chief responsibility being overseeing the agency’s domestic creative product.
In describing his role at Y&R, Bell said, “I think one of the things I can be for them is a creative conscience, so there’s one guy and everybody know’s where the bar is.”
Structurally, Y&R vice chairman Joe DeDeo will relinquish his dual title of chief creative officer, and the responsibility for Y&R’s Creative Leadership Program, to focus on global clients and Latin America. Y&R/N.Y. executive vp/cd Helayne Spivak will continue to oversee New York creative and continues to report to office president/ceo Frank Anfield.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)