NEW YORK Dentsu said it would appoint Tim Andree, CEO of Dentsu America, as its first non-Japanese "executive officer" -- a senior management designation just below board member -- next month. He will continue to lead the company's U.S. operations.
According to a statement, "His familiarity with the advertising business in the U.S. and Europe, a unique career path that includes a wealth of client experience, and advanced management skills will be central to his leading role in expanding the Dentsu Group's business activities in the U.S."
Sources familiar with Dentsu see Andree's appointment as a sign that the holding company is actually getting serious about becoming more international and that Andree will play a role in that process. Dentsu suggested as much in its statement, noting that in his new role: "Andree will take on even weightier responsibilities."
Andree became CEO of Dentsu America in May 2006.
He spearheaded the Tokyo-based network's acquisition in October 2007 of Attik in San Francisco.
That deal was soon overshadowed, however, by the nasty legal battle that erupted between Dentsu and Steve Biegel, a former cd at the agency, who made lurid claims in a lawsuit against Dentsu's former top North American executive, Toyo Shigeta, and Andree, who fired Biegel in November 2006.
The complex case has been proceeding through the U.S. District Court in New York. Unless the parties agree to a settlement, the next key step in the process is a pre-trail hearing set for Nov. 24.
(CLICK HERE TO READ NOREEN O'LEARY'S IN-DEPTH FEATURE, "DENTSU RISING.")