Grey Global Group appoints James R. Heekin III Chairman and CEO
12 December, 2006
Grey Global Group, a WPP company and the parent company of Grey Worldwide and G2, today announced that James R. Heekin III will become Chairman and Chief Executive Officer on January 1, 2007 as Grey begins its 90th year. He succeeds Edward H. Meyer who retires in December, culminating a storied 50-year career at Grey, including more than three decades as CEO.
Grey Global Group ranks among the world’s top marketing organizations, serves one-fifth of the FORTUNE 500, and operates 110 offices in 88 countries with 10,000 employees. Its multidisciplinary offer focuses on operating companies such as Grey Worldwide, G2, WINGLATINO and Alliance and includes sister companies such as Grey Healthcare Group, GCI Group and MediaCom.
Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, said, “Jim Heekin will be focusing on raising Grey's creative standards even further with the help of Tim Mellors and on its integrated offer, particularly in the area of internet, interactive and digital with Joe Celia. Through WPP, Jim and Joe will further enhance Grey Global's capabilities and resources, not only in the mature markets of the US and Western Europe, but in the faster-growing markets of Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East and Central and Eastern Europe. I also want to thank Ed Meyer for the selfless way he has supervised such a smooth succession transition and on his remarkable career as a leader in our industry."
Jim Heekin, who has served as Chairman and CEO of Grey Worldwide since September 2005, a role he will continue in, said, “Taking the reins of Grey Global Group is a highpoint in my professional life and I am extremely enthused about our future. This company possesses immense talent, world-class clients and stunning marketing success stories in every medium.
“Over the past year, we have been very busy launching a dynamic new platform for the future with bold initiatives designed to sharpen our competitive edge in creativity, total communications, strategic planning and business development. The stage is set for the ’new’ Grey to prosper.”
New Leadership Structure
Jim Heekin also announced a new senior management structure for Grey Global Group, which is consistent with his vision of placing creativity and total communications at the very top of the company.
Two newly created positions of vice chairman will report to Heekin.
Joe Celia will become Vice Chairman, Grey Global Group. He will oversee Grey Global Group’s mandate to deliver a powerful total communications offering and lead the network’s strategic development via acquisitions and joint ventures in emerging markets and new media channels. He will continue in his role as Chairman and CEO of G2, Grey’s leading global network of specialized communications companies.
Tim Mellors will become Vice Chairman, Chief Creative Officer. He will be responsible for Grey’s creative product globally, and across all business lines, underscoring the critical importance the company places on superlative creativity working in concert across all communications channels. He has served as President and Chief Creative Officer of Grey Worldwide North America since 2004.
Jim Heekin said, “Joe Celia has done an outstanding job of developing the G2 organization into a best-in-class global network for delivering multidisciplinary brand communications for our clients in a more creative, responsive, targeted and measurable way. His appointment underscores our determination to advance Grey’s leadership position in the new communications landscape.
“Grey’s creative credentials are on the rise thanks to Tim Mellors. He has leveraged our talent to produce memorable, effective, award-winning advertising and content that bonds buyers to brands. He will harness the power of our global organization to make Grey a destination for outstanding creative ideas and creative people.
“Both Joe and Tim will be terrific partners to me. They share the vast sense of potential that I believe lies at the heart of Grey,” Heekin concluded.
The “New” Grey
In 2006, the senior management of the company, led by Jim Heekin, laid out a vision and blueprint for the “new” Grey:
• Grey committed itself to best-in-class creativity. The company has doubled its total creative award performance in the past two years and won: 10 Cannes Lions; “Agency of the Year” at the European Effies; Addy “Best of Show” for Nokia, Clio for Frontier Airlines, Emmy for Dairy Queen in North America; moving up four places in the Gunn Report, all in 2006.
• Grey elevated its game in the total communications space by aligning all of its specialized communications under the G2 brand, creating a seamless, global organization that unified the company’s pacesetter communications holdings in direct marketing, branding and design, new media, promotional, trade and shopper marketing. The network has 86 offices in 42 countries. This new architecture pairs the branding prowess of Grey Worldwide with the activation marketing expertise of G2 to deliver superior brand communications across all marketing channels.
• Grey rededicated itself to strategic planning leadership as a cornerstone of its offering. The agency that invented “psychographics” and published Grey Matter, Madison Avenue’s bible of provocative trends, set out to reclaim its pre-eminence in thought leadership. Nat Puccio and Suresh Nair, two of the most renowned leaders in consumer insights, joined Grey from McCann. They unveiled a new global planning model, Grey Brand Acceleration, to drive the creation of transformative ideas that accelerate clients’ brand performance. All disciplines use its common strategic tools and common language to create brand communications across channels.
• Grey focused on incremental growth from existing clients and new assignments. Completing its first year as a WPP agency in March 2006, Grey grew the business of 18 out of its top 20 global clients. The agency’s vitality is evident in the new assignments it received from Procter & Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline, BAT, Darden Restaurants, Novartis, Diageo, Nokia and Volkswagen around the world. New clients/brands won include: Lehman Brothers, Manpower, Max Factor, Symantec, SanDisk, Morgan Stanley, China Mobile and Wyeth’s Dimetapp.
Edward H. Meyer: An Advertising Titan
Edward H. Meyer’s retirement marks the culmination of one of the most spectacular careers in American advertising. He built Grey from a mid-sized U.S. agency into a global marketing communications powerhouse. An iconic account man, entrepreneur and marketing strategist, he became a sought after counselor in FORTUNE 500 boardrooms from Procter & Gamble to BAT.
Under his leadership, Grey’s revenues soared by a factor of over 40 times, from $29.5 million in 1970, the year he became CEO, to $1.3 billion in 2003. FORTUNE magazine called Grey a “super agency” nearly two decades ago in recognition of its pioneering development of resources across the total spectrum of marketing channels.
In addition to his membership on numerous public company boards, he has been a mainstay of New York philanthropy, serving as a trustee of the Guggenheim Museum, New York University Medical Center and on the board of the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Ed Meyer said, “I am very proud of the success Grey has achieved because of our passion for building our clients’ brands and businesses. It has been my pleasure to work with many of the most talented people in our industry. I have the highest personal regard for Jim Heekin, have long respected his business achievements and have enjoyed our collaboration. Grey’s best days lie ahead in the very capable hands of its new management team.”
Grey Global Group ranks among the largest global communications companies in the world. Its parent company is WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY). Grey Global Group operates branded independent business units in many communications disciplines including general advertising, public relations/public affairs, healthcare marketing, brand development, relationship marketing, sales promotion, interactive marketing, entertainment and Hispanic communications. Grey’s blue-chip client roster includes many of the world’s best known companies: Procter & Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline, Nokia, BAT, Diageo, Volkswagen, Novartis, Wyeth, Canon and 3M