NEW YORK The London office of DDB, after a search that lasted seven months, has filled its CEO vacancy with Stephen Woodford.
He had been chief executive officer of Engine Group, a mini-holding company that includes WCRS and marketing services specialty shops Personal, Meme, Dave, Woo and Slice.
Woodford, 47, succeeds Paul Hammersley, who resigned from DDB in December to become a partner at The Red Brick Road, Frank Lowe's new agency in London. Woodford remains under contract with Engine Group, however, and won't be able to start immediately. DDB was unable to provide a start date.
The Omnicom Group agency had been talking to Woodford for about a month and he emerged as the best candidate "by a long shot," said DDB Europe president Michael Bray.
Bray, who is based in London and has run the office since Hammersley left, cited Woodford's leadership experience, market connections and understanding of the agency's mission. Bray further described Woodford as "mature" and capable of building the agency long-term.
As for the length of the search, Bray said, "I was just trying to find the right candidate. It's just not that easy."
Before taking the reins at Engine Group, Woodford was CEO of WCRS, where he spent 13 years over two tours. He was a board director from 1989 until 1992, when he joined Leo Burnett in London as deputy managing director. He returned to WCRS in 1995 to become managing director; in 1998 he advanced to CEO.
In 2003 and 2004, he led a management buyout of WCRS from Havas. In addition, Woodford has served as president of the IPA, a leading U.K. trade association.
DDB worldwide CEO Chuck Brymer said in a statement, "DDB London is one of the jewels of the network and it was vital we found someone who would nurture everything that this great agency stands for."