Carroll Gets His Groove Back In TBWA Recasting

Last week brought a vindication of sorts to Tom Carroll as he was elevated to president of TBWA Worldwide in a restructuring intended to create “a very solid management organization for the future of TBWA,” said CEO Jean-Marie Dru.

Two years ago, to make room for Brett Gosper in New York, Carroll, who was then president of the Americas, relinquished his operating duties and assumed the less defined role of worldwide vice chairman.

Some observers wondered if Carroll could remain a key player in that position. And while Carroll might have been sensitive to such questions, he continued to focus on managing critical global clients such as Absolut, Adidas and Mars. Those efforts have now paid off.

On Friday, TBWA Worldwide CEO Jean-Marie Dru named Carroll to the new post, putting him in the No. 2 spot at the agency and positioning him to succeed the 59-year-old CEO. Carroll, 51, will retain his client duties and also work closely with worldwide CFO Jonathan Ramsden, 41, in managing the $9 billion network.

“Since I came to this company, I have counted on Tom to teach me about all things American, to challenge me when I’m wrong, and to help me better develop my sense of humor,” said Dru, who has not yet set a retirement date.

At the same time, Dru expanded the roles of other key lieutenants. Asia-Pacific regional president Keith Smith, 57, added oversight of Europe, Africa and the Middle East in the new role of president international and Tequila worldwide president and CEO Jeremy Pagden, 46, took the new post of president of marketing services, adding and Integer to his responsibilities. In addition, several North American units that reported to Carroll now report to Robert LePlae, 46, who remains North American president.

Dru’s moves rewarded the efforts of top leaders, but may result in some fallout, sources said. Smith gained European operational duties at the expense of European president Paul Bainsfair, who has been asked to shift to European chairman with a focus on the London office, sources said. He now reports to Smith, instead of Dru, and may not accept his new role, per sources.

As vice chairman, Carroll, a fun-loving account man who inspires loyalty among clients and colleagues alike, just kept going, much like the Energizer bunny for which his shop is famous. Last week, he said: “I love this company. Remember, I came out of Chiat/Day. During the last seven years I’ve learned to love the TBWA network and its people. We’re a great global network and we have great clients and I’m really excited to be playing a bigger role in taking our clients around the world.”