Y&R Looks to Build on Its Momentum With New Global President and Other Key Hires

David Patton joins from Grey

David Patton has been named global president of Y&R, effective January 2017. Patton will be based in the London office and will report to the agency's global chief executive David Sable.

Prior to joining the Y&R team, Patton spent six years at Grey Group as president and CEO of Grey EMEA. He also spent two years as CEO of Grey U.K. With Patton's upcoming departure, Grey announced that Alain Groenendaal, president and CEO of Grey Latin America, will take over as president and CEO of Grey Europe.

Sable noted that while Y&R looked both outside and inside WPP to fill the global role, and found great candidates outside of the network, Patton was the best fit.

"As our momentum kept getting bigger and stronger I needed that extra help, particularly getting into the details as we get into the markets. It was really important that I be able to provide better service going down into the markets and to all my regional guys. It was just the right thing to do," Sable said. 

Outside of naming a new global president, Sable also announced a few other key hires.

Y&R, under Sable's lead, has established a global healthcare practice, which will be led by Howard Courtemanche. Courtemanche joined Y&R a few months back and has previously served as president of JWT's Health division. Since his arrival at Y&R, the agency has won three pharma and over-the-counter accounts. He will continue to help the agency build on this success in the health business in the coming months.

"Of all the businesses one can have, healthcare is the one that probably requires the most specific expertise," Sable said. "When you have somebody who has lived it and knows the language in a different way, because it's not just marketing language. You need to understand compliance, regulatory environment, what the approval process is like, you need to understand the FDA. There's so many different things."  

Additionally, Y&R also announced a new global chief marketing officer. Former director of business develop in North America, JJ Schmuckler, will take on the global CMO title. 

The hires came as Y&R's North America division continues to see success and growth over the past three months. Driven by the agency's New York office, Y&R has won six new accounts, including the three new health clients. Other new clients include JPMorgan Chase's corporate business (won in partnership with VML), lead creative agency for Cirque du Soleil and work for The U.S. Census bureau's first digital census in 2020.

With the announcement of the three new positions Sable hopes to show Y&R's momentum, "the importance of our position in WPP's horizontality," and the "growing opportunities we have to bring our businesses together and bring better solutions to clients."