Internal Memo: Ogilvy Global CEO Andy Main Kicks Off His First Day Addressing Several Issues

By Erik Oster 

Today marks a new era for Ogilvy as Andy Main officially takes over as global CEO.

Ogilvy announced that Main would be succeeding John Seifert as global CEO last month, as Seifert plans to retire at the end of the year after 41 years with the agency.

Main, who previously served as global head of Deloitte Digital, heralded his official arrival in the global chief executive role today with an internal memo to all Ogilvy employees. He thanked Seifert for his years of service to Ogilvy and touched on making the jump from a consultancy to an agency.


Main claimed that Ogilvy is “incredibly well-positioned to own the market around achieving the growth ambitions of companies everywhere,” explaining he meant not just growth in financial terms but also “human terms around experience, diversity, sustainability and responsibility.”

To achieve this, he said, Ogilvy can rely on its “not-so-secret weapon.” (Creativity, of course.)

Main also addressed the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic and the opportunities for positive change. He said he looks forward to partnering with employees across the agency to create “clear and unequivocal commitments to inclusiveness, diversity, anti-racism and human kindness that are met not only with expressions of intent but meaningful and measurable action.”

Here’s the memo in its entirety:

Hi everyone,

I’m thrilled to be the newest member of your team. Ogilvy is a world-famous brand with an incredible heritage of creative and strategic excellence, and it is an honor to serve as your next Global CEO.

I want to thank John for the warm welcome, for his stewardship of this great company, and for all the contributions he has made to Ogilvy over the past 41 years. I look forward to being able to tap into his experience (and his David Ogilvy stories) in the months to come as he will remain an advisor to the company through the end of the year.

Just in case you are wondering, why did a guy from a consultancy join the agency side? The answer is simple … I’ve always been focused on working with clients to drive value from growth. Now more than ever we have a unique opportunity to use Ogilvy’s creative genius and global reach to grow and transform not only brands, but entire businesses. Ogilvy is incredibly well-positioned to own the market around achieving the growth ambitions of businesses everywhere—not just growth in financial terms, but growth in human terms around experience, diversity, sustainability, and responsibility. We have our “not so secret weapon” to achieve this—creativity. Companies can buy technology, but it is much harder to enable that technology at scale if you don’t already (like us) have creativity at scale. And without creativity, it is hard to deliver growth and true transformation.

Given the seismic change we are seeing in customer behavior, there is an opportunity for us to get more “creative about creativity.” We must make creativity omnipresent in our clients’ businesses from end-to-end. This means continuing to do award-winning advertising and brand work, but also looking for more ways to combine creative, strategy, technology, insights, data, and influence into ideas that drive a broader range of business results. In a new world where geographic location is less of a constraint to serving our clients, it is critical that we bring the best of our global network to the table (or Zoom) with our clients so that we leave no stone unturned when it comes to shaping and growing the future of their businesses. Let’s all aim high so that our creativity delivers many more innovative “firsts” for our clients.

I would be hard-pressed not to acknowledge that we are living through a consequential time around the world. We continue to face the challenges brought on by COVID-19, which has changed how we live and work, while we also confront uncomfortable truths about the racism and inequality that has plagued the globe for generations. In these challenges, we have an incredible opportunity to shape a new normal where we and our clients all thrive.

This starts with ensuring that we are a company with a clear culture of belonging where talented people from underrepresented groups are championed, respected, and supported throughout their careers and given the chance to reach the very highest levels of the organization. I look forward to partnering with everyone across our business to ensure our clear and unequivocal commitments to inclusiveness, diversity, anti-racism, and human kindness are met not only with expressions of intent, but meaningful and measurable action. By exceeding at this for ourselves, our clients will also notice because the work we do for our clients will reflect the essence of our culture. This will be among my primary focuses in the coming weeks, months, and years.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to Zoom with many leaders across the business and gate-crashed a couple of town halls. What has really impressed me is the strength of our global network, the passion for our business, and the diverse expertise to achieve our clients’ growth ambitions. The amazing thing about this is that it’s all from under the one roof, and is unrivaled. Those chats have only added to my energy to roll up my sleeves and get started. I’m looking forward to having the chance to introduce myself in a more personal way later this week during our regional all-staff meetings.

As I hope you will learn, I am incredibly optimistic about our future and I see a tremendous opportunity for us to build on Ogilvy’s incredible heritage to deliver growth for our clients, our people, our company, and shareholders. I’m eager to connect with you in the days and weeks ahead—and hopefully in person in the months to come. What advice do you have for the new guy? What makes you proud to be a part of Ogilvy? Feel free to reach out to introduce yourself via email or send me a WhatsApp (+1XXXXXXXXXX).

Let’s get going!

Andy Main
Global Chief Executive Officer