Grey Names New Global President

Michael Houston has served as agency network's North America chief

On the heels of a blockbuster year, Michael Houston has been promoted to global president of Grey.

In his new role, the 43-year-old, who has been serving as CEO of Grey North America will work closely with Grey Group chief James Heekin in the management of agency regions around the world. He will also continue to oversee North America with responsibility for Grey's New York, San Francisco and Canadian offices as well as Grey Activation and PR and Wing, the agency's multicultural marketing communications agency.

The last Grey exec to have the global president title was Heekin, when he joined the agency in 2005 before becoming chief executive of Grey Group two years later.

Houston has steadily climbed the ranks since joining the WPP agency in 2007 as evp, director of marketing, where he led Grey's business development and brand marketing. He moved up to become Grey Worldwide global chief marketing officer; managing director, Grey New York  and chief operating officer of that flagship office in 2012.

Before moving to Grey he was partner, director of corporate development at what was then Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners (now KBS).

During Houston's Grey tenure, the agency won blue-chip clients like Gillette, Volvo, Hasbro, Papa John's, Kellogg's and Marriott. The North American operations have also contributed to Grey being honored as Adweek's Global Agency of the Year in both 2015 and 2013.

Heekin alluded to that track record in explaining the management shift. "Michael Houston has played a pivotal role in the ongoing success of Grey North America, which just completed its seventh year of record new business and creative performance," Heekin said.