Rogers to Helm WPP’s Ford Unit

NEW YORK WPP Group has named George Rogers president and CEO of Team Detroit, a joint venture of six WPP shops in the Motor City, the holding company has confirmed. All of those agencies work on Ford.

Rogers will also remain president of JWT’s Detroit operations.

WPP in January combined the Detroit-area staffs of JWT, Ogilvy & Mather, Young & Rubicam, Wunderman, MindShare and Mediaedge:cia at a single location in Dearborn, Mich., partly to consolidate real estate, but also to create a more collaborative environment for handling WPP’s largest global client. The cohabitation also allows the agencies to share certain services, such as in the area of production.

“It’s exciting to see this commitment from WPP. They are taking this opportunity to create a robust, 21st century agency designed to integrate all of our marketing communications needs,” said Cisco Codina, group vice president of sales at Ford, in a statement.

Rogers will report to Satish Korde, who oversees WPP’s global Ford business.

“George is a seasoned veteran with considerable experience in all aspects of automotive marketing,” said Korde. “He has already earned the respect of his clients and his leadership going forward will be instrumental to our new strategic direction.”

Ford spent $1.6 billion last year on U.S. ads alone and more than $1 billion so far in 2006, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Three weeks ago, JWT said Toby Barlow, one of nine agency executive creative directors in New York, would move to Detroit to work on Ford [Adweek Online, Oct. 3]. Barlow replaces Tom Cordner as the top creative on the business; Cordner is leaving the shop.

All but three of Ford’s major brands are handled by WPP shops. The exceptions are Volvo and Jaguar, which are at Havas’ Euro RSCG, and Mazda, which is handled by Doner, an independent shop.

This story updates and replaces an item posted on Sept. 23 with confirmation of Rogers’ appointment and other details.