Lowe Turns to Gatfield

NEW YORK Stephen Gatfield, executive vice president of strategy and network operations at Interpublic Group, will take on operational duties at Lowe, as the global agency attempts to reposition itself as a smaller creatively driven shop, IPG confirmed today.

Gatfield, who joined IPG in April 2004, had already been working with IPG CEO Michael Roth and Lowe CEO Tony Wright on defining the agency’s new strategic direction. Now Gatfield’s role is expected to grow to encompass day-to-day operations, though it’s unclear if he will remain at IPG or take a title at Lowe.

IPG confirmed Gatfield’s operational involvement but declined further comment. Gatfield, 47, could not immediately be reached. Wright, through a representative, declined to comment.

Lowe already has a worldwide chief operating officer in Ed Powers, but his advertising experience is limited. Before Lowe, which he joined in November 2004, Powers was COO of IPG’s collection of public relations, branding and event marketing shops, known as the Constituency Management Group. He rose to that post from the PR agency Weber Shandwick, where he also was COO.

Before IPG, Gatfield was global COO of Leo Burnett, where he had spent most of his career. At IPG, he has focused on sharpening the Asian market offerings of not only Lowe but also Foote Cone & Belding. In December, his title changed from evp of global operations and innovations to better reflect his more strategic role [Adweek Online, Dec. 21].