Ogilvy & Mather North America chief John Seifert is continuing his efforts to broaden the network’s U.S. identity beyond its New York flagship. To that end, he’s named Michael Dobak to the newly created role of CEO of Ogilvy & Mather West, charging him with expanding the WPP company’s efforts across Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, OgilvyOne and Ogilvy Public Relations in Denver, Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Francisco.
Dobak, who has been with Ogilvy for five years, has been the global managing director on the agency’s IBM business since January 2012 and has been instrumental in helping to build the “Smarter Planet” strategy for the computer giant. The 44-year-old is a native Californian and will be based in Los Angeles. Gunther Schumacher, president and COO of OgilvyOne Worldwide, assumes Dobak’s lead on IBM.
When Seifert assumed his North American role four years ago, he set out to grow the agency’s operations in the region. The company’s growth in Chicago provides a blueprint for what he hopes to replicate in the west. Thanks to account wins like Arrow Electronics, S.C. Johnson, CDW Corp., Beam Inc.’s Pinnacle Vodka and work with New York on clients like Kimberly Clark, Ogilvy’s Chicago agency has doubled in size to more than 600 people in the past couple of years and the office has consolidated all of its marketing disciplines under one roof.
Like many network agency execs, Seifert describes the west as a unique and difficult operating environment, where Ogilvy has had peaks and valleys but he underscores the opportunity there and Dobak’s potential to act on it.
“There’s such a culture of innovation and global influences on technology, entertainment and gaming out there. How do you make it a gateway to marketing?” he said, citing Dobak’s familiarity not only with the region but with that intersection of technology and pop culture.
Dobak says he’s excited about the chance to expand Ogilvy’s capabilities and look for new ones. “From an incubation perspective, can we create a lab?” he mused, mentioning the possibilities associated with IBM e-commerce.
Seifert said Dobak will also be an agency resource beyond his role in the West.
“The way the world works now clients expect us to put talent ahead of geography. Michael is used to sourcing talent everywhere from Bangalore to Bratislava. We expect him to continue to be connective tissue.”
Dobak began his advertising career in Los Angeles at Dailey & Associates before going to San Francisco to lead the Sprint PCS account at Hal Riney & Partners. In 2006 he moved to Arnold in Boston before joining Ogilvy in 2008 to work on IBM.