Ogilvy Launches Search for BP Account Chief

Ogilvy & Mather in-tends to look both inside and outside the agency for an executive to run its $200 million global retail business for BP, a job vacated last week by Jack Rooney.

The client’s top marketing executive said the Chicago agency’s position is secure without Rooney, who is leaving to join GMR Marketing.

“Jack has already es-tablished the personnel and network we needed,” said David Welch, BP’s director of global retail communications in Warrenville, Ill. “Whoever replaces him we trust will be able to step in and move us forward.”

Rooney, 44, said he decided to join GMR, an Omnicom Group-owned sports and event marketer in New Berlin, Wis., where he’ll take a newly created top account position, so that he can be closer to his family’s Wisconsin home.

“My decision to leave has absolutely zero to do with [Ogilvy],” Rooney said.

“He had a hellacious commute, not only to Chicago but also to New York and London [BP’s world headquarters],” said Ogilvy Chicago’s co-managing partner, Linda Garrison, who will supervise the search for Rooney’s replacement.

Rooney joined Ogilvy in July 2000 as senior partner and executive group director. Ogilvy won the BP account in 1999. The agency developed a new brand campaign and advertising work to introduce BP’s new interactive gas stations.

GMR’s biggest client is Miller Brewing in Milwaukee, where Roo-ney spent two years as vice president of marketing. He had kept in touch with GMR’s CEO, Gary Reynolds, and the job resulted from informal conversations between the two executives.

Rooney is not expected to work on the Miller account at GMR.

Rooney is not due to arrive at his new post until mid-February, so he will help search for his successor at Ogilvy.

Rooney’s years at Miller, which ended with his ouster in 1999, were rocky ones. Struggles to achieve winning marketing campaigns for Miller Lite and Miller Genuine Draft led parent Philip Morris to insert its own management team.