WPP Group CEO Martin Sorrell is taking steps to get closer to Procter & Gamble, a client he has long coveted and which he inherited when WPP acquired Grey Global Group, sources said.
Sorrell wants to win more dollars from the giant advertiser and isn't satisfied with relying on Grey's 50-year relationship with P&G. In fact, Sorrell has formed Team Procter, a group of 12 executives whose mission is to channel P&G business into other WPP agencies such as Red Cell, which has already met with P&G marketing chief Jim Stengel.
P&G rep Tami Jones said of the team, "Grey is the primary advertising component of WPP for P&G. Now there's a team to look across the portfolio" of agency brands.
Andy Berlin, CEO of Red Cell is a member of Team Procter, said sources who added that the agency made a credentials presentation to P&G in recent weeks.
Appointing Tamara Ingram last week to the new post of CEO, Grey U.K. Group, is another initiative toward making P&G a "WPP client, rather than the client of any one agency," one source said.
At 44, Ingram, who oversees Team Procter and has a strong relationship to and deep experience on Cincinnati-based P&G (from her days at Saatchi & Saatchi in London), is in a position to eventually lead the account for WPP, sources said. Grey's Neil Kreisberg, 60, has run P&G globally since the 1980s and is based in New York.
A Grey representative declined to comment, as did a WPP rep. Sorrell did not return calls for comment.
Ingram was most recently president of WPP's research company Kantar Group.