Hires and Promotions at Ogilvy North America

By Patrick Coffee 

Ogilvy

Today John Seifert, chairman of the global brand community at Ogilvy & Mather, released an extensive internal memo detailing the agency’s plans for success in the “content”-rich future.

The key points involve new hires and promotions:

  • Liz Taylor, formerly ECD of social at Ogilvy Chicago, will now be ECD of digital and social for Ogilvy North America. She will report to North American CCO Steve Simpson.
  • Edward (“Teddy”) Lynn and Mark Himmelsbach, co-founders of IPG’s Mediabrands Publishing, will run Ogilvy’s content marketing unit Content@Ogilvy. They will be CCO and president, respectively, of the North American organization. Lynn and Himmelsbach will report to Simpson and Seifert himself.

Other staffing moves include the promotion of Senior Partner Peter Fasano to the role of regional managing director for Social@Ogilvy in North America and Michael Dobak, CEO of Ogilvy West and South, to a position taking “executive responsibility for North America’s business transformation agenda” and partnering with Seifert himself and other members of the agency’s international “business transformation team.”

Most of the note itself is a general statement on the changing media landscape that made these shifts necessary, but it’s interesting from a strategic perspective.

We’ve reprinted some portions below.

CONTENT MAKING IN OUR SOCIAL AND DIGITAL AGE

I’m writing to share some important steps we are taking in North America to strengthen our offering and grow our business faster in the context of the rapidly shifting social, digital, and content making landscape.

Background

You don’t need a memo from me to confirm that the world has changed.

The late David Carr, the New York Times’ brilliant media reporter and columnist, wrote presciently about the rapidly shifting media and cultural landscape. He described it as, “making and distributing content in the present future we are living through.”

We have not been naïve about these disruptive forces, and their impact on our clients’ brands and businesses … as well as our own. Over the past five years we launched Social@Ogilvy and Digital @Ogilvy as cross-discipline, cross-geography business practices. Our ambition was simple: to enable those employees with new age social, digital, and content making skills to collaborate beyond reporting lines and accelerate the entire agency’s capacity to innovate in response to our dynamic media age.

We argued that “Social and Digital” were not separate businesses within the Ogilvy & Mather Group. We developed these practices as change agents, helping every business discipline, every geography, every department, and every client team to transform for the “modern age” of brand building, strategic marketing, and creative communications’ services.

Ogilvy & Mather Advertising now creates content rich “platform” brand campaigns that embrace every aspect of social and digital activation and delivery.

In fact, our entire North America network (which includes Ogilvy branded disciplines, Geometry, CommonHealth, and our independent Specialist Companies) is now making digital, social, and “omni-channel” content core to everything we do. And, yet, with all this progress we share a collective concern that our current operating structure is a barrier to progress in the new age. Thinking and working in silos puts our future – and competitive advantage – at risk.

We are now broadly agreed on the need to be more collaborative, more connected, and more integrated in our delivery to clients as convergence grows in data, content, technology, media, and social distribution.

As we think through changes to our business model for this modern marketing revolution, the worldwide Executive Committee, led by Miles, has agreed to make 2015 a year of network-wide experimentation. To modernize our structure and ways of working, we need to learn together how best to connect our extraordinary portfolio of talent, specialist skills, and tools to transform our business for growth and brand leadership in this new age.

Summary

The world has changed. And our world is changing faster than ever as the forces of digital, social, and new content making, publishing, and distribution possibilities redefine how we think, how we work, and the product we create for our clients.

2015 is a year of experimentation. As a worldwide network, we intend to transform our business and operating model for this new age through purposeful testing and learning.

In North America, we are committed to supporting this global agenda by: bringing in new talent with a proven track record of success in the new environment; creating new leadership roles that will facilitate changes in how we collaborate across the company and better connect all of our assets for business growth and brand leadership; building cases of learning that will connect us with the rest of the worldwide network on this global transformation journey.

This will not be easy. We will have to confront pre-existing conventions and personal biases that resist change across the company. We need to embrace experimentation and dispel any fear of failure. Given all of our assets, we could not be better positioned for growth, however, we can only adapt to the new realities of our business if we break some windows and work as one team for the good of Ogilvy & Mather as a whole.

Let’s pull together and make this happen.

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