One Friday night in 1993, Jerry Judge confided to his wife that he was planning to quit the top job at Young & Rubicam's London office, which had been plagued with management turmoil and account losses that preceded his short tenure there. It just so happened that the very next morning he received a call from Frank Lowe. The two lunched together that Saturday afternoon, and within two weeks Judge signed on as chief executive at Lowe Howard-Spink, London.
Now, in relocating to New York, Judge -- like it or not -- finds himself again at the helm of a ship that needs turning around. As Lowe Lintas' new worldwide chief executive, the 51-year-old Judge is being held responsible for steering the agency's New York flagship into a future free of any remaining vestiges of Lowe Lintas' merger-related past.
As worldwide president, Judge has already been dividing his time between New York and London. But he has remained a low-profile personality around the agency.
As comfortable in a leather jacket as a coat and tie, the affable Anglo-Irishman quickly rose through Lowe's burgeoning worldwide ranks. In 1997, three years after joining Lowe Howard-Spink, he was named head of Lowe's European operations. In 1999, he was elevated to president of worldwide operations.
Judge spent most of his early career at Bartle Bogle Hegarty, where he was a founding partner and, later, chairman. In 1991, he moved over to Y&R's troubled London office as part of a team known in agency circles as the "dynamic duo." Tim Lind say, who became Y&R London's managing direc tor, would quit with Judge and join him at Lowe Howard-Spink.
That association with creatively driven agency networks is critical to the way Judge views Lowe Lintas' value within Interpublic Group of Cos.' corporate empire.
"We are different to the McCanns of this world, who are all things to all people. We do not want to be that," he has said. "I believe that just as there were creative domestic agencies 10 or 15 years ago, so we will build the most creative global network. We would like to be in the top three by reputation and the top 10, by size, everywhere."