Erik Vervroegen Returns to TBWA as ECD, Global Head of Art

By Patrick Coffee 

Publicis Worldwide’s top creative leader is changing holding companies again.

Erik Vervroegen will return to TBWA in New York after spending nearly 5 years in Paris as Publicis Groupe’s international chief creative officer. In the new role, he will simultaneously hold the titles of ECD at TBWA\Chiat\Day New York and global head of art for TBWA\Worldwide.

The move reunites Vervroegen with Chris Garbutt after the two worked together under TBWA worldwide CD John Hunt at the agency’s offices in Johannesburg well over a decade ago. Gartbutt left his CCO job at Ogilvy last summer to become global creative president of the TBWA network in New York.


This will be the third job Vervroegen has had with TBWA: he joined the network’s Paris office as an ECD in 2002 and spent nearly seven years there, eventually serving as president before accepting a creative position at Goodby Silverstein & Partners in 2009. After two years, he got the call to return to Paris as Publicis Worldwide’s international CCO, overseeing the holding company’s creative efforts throughout Europe, Asia and Latin America and leading the Ray-Ban account.

The release announcing Vervroegen’s return to New York positions his hire as part of Garbutt’s plan to “accelerate and amplify the creative output of the office,” noting that TBWA had been trying to entice him to come back during “several months of negotiations.”

Garbutt said that Vervroegen embodies the network’s “disruptive spirit,” adding, “He is an incredibly talented, creative icon in our industry, and he has an unmatched passion for everything he sets his sights on. He’ll help make New York a creative force to be reckoned with. We’re thrilled he’s decided to return to TBWA.”

Vervroegen has won awards and served on juries at most major shows, but you already knew that. He may be best known in the States for GS&P’s very unusual 2011 campaign promoting French advocacy group AIDES, which starred a cartoon Willy.

On his new gig, Vervroegen said, “To stay passionate and at the top of one’s game, one should never lose their beginner’s spirit. Creativity is about fighting for the best ideas and crafting until the last bell. There is no place that understands this more than TBWA.”