At Y&R: Vick Passes Baton to Dolan

New YORK–Mike Dolan, the man named to lead Young & Rubicam’s $5 billion global network, is known as a straight-shooter who has developed close ties to clients such as Colgate, AT&T, Xerox and Ford.

Some refer to him as a “numbers guy,” based on his days as CFO during Y&R’s initial public offering. But before taking that role, the bulk of his career was spent on the client side, as CEO of Snack Ventures Europe and as an svp at PepsiCo.

It was Peter Georgescu, former worldwide CEO of Y&R Inc., who brought Dolan into the ad fold in 1996. Georgescu, now chairman emeritus, is taking on an additional role: senior advisor. While some downplayed the move, noting that Georgescu has been advising Dolan informally for the past year, one source said that Georgescu, 62, would likely take on some “light, high-level client activity” and that it “sends a reassuring message.”

Addressing senior managers on Friday, Dolan, 54, stressed the need to work together across business lines and be collegial, which he later described as a “precious characteristic” of Y&R. When disciplines unite to solve client problems, “it is magic,” he said.

As for how he will manage the dual role of worldwide CEO of advertising and worldwide CEO of Y&R Group, Dolan joked, “I’m going to sleep a little less.”

The agency that Ed Vick is turning over has taken some hits in the past 12 months, with longtime clients KFC, Kraft (Jello) and United leaving. But Vick, who is retiring at the age of 56, is bullish about Y&R’s future. And looking back on nine years with the company and more than 30 years in advertising, Vick said: “I want to be remembered as a good leader who led from the front, not from the back.”