Creative Shakeup at Ogilvy

NEW YORK Ogilvy & Mather North America vice chairman for creative David Apicella is leaving the agency after 28 years, and Jan Leth, vice chairman for global digital creative, is shifting to a part-time role as Ogilvy flattens its creative leadership structure.

Steve Hayden, the shop’s worldwide vice chairman, today was named N.A. chief creative officer with a focus on the WPP Group agency’s New York headquarters, said John Seifert (pictured), N. A. chairman of The Ogilvy Group.
Chris Wall previously led creative efforts in New York as vice chairman of creative — a role he assumed in September 2007. He’ll now lead a group of creatives on clients such as IBM and Ford and report to Hayden, Seifert said.

Leth, a 13-year veteran of the agency who started in OgilvyOne and assumed broader roles in recent years, will shed his operating responsibilities at the end of June and become a part-time consultant to the shop, according to Seifert.

Leth’s departure will make newly-hired Lars Bastholm the top digital creative in North America. Bastholm, N.A. chief digital creative officer, joined the agency last month from AKQA, where he was co-CCO.

The changes, which come amid further cuts in Ogilvy’s headcount, are designed to get creative leaders closer to clients and improve the caliber of their work, Seifert said. He wants his creative leaders to spend less time on “management stuff” and more time on “direct engagement on the work.”

“It’s a simplification,” he said.

Through layoffs and attrition, the shop in the last month eliminated another 25 positions at North American offices of Ogilvy Group, which includes Ogilvy & Mather, OgilvyOne, Ogilvy Healthworld and Ogilvy Public Relations, according to Seifert. The bulk of the cuts were in New York.

In January, the shop laid off 150 staffers in advertising, direct and digital, also mostly in New York. In each case, the shop attributed the cuts to declines in client spending that outstripped new business growth.

Apicella, who’s known primarily for his work on American Express, including a series of memorable spots featuring comedian Jerry Seinfeld, will leave the agency in July.

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