Adweek reported on Old White Guys being replaced by new Old White Guys at major agencies in the past year (technically, JWT hired an Argentina-Born Guy to replace its Old White Guy). Not surprisingly, there are always plenty of qualified White candidates exclusively available.
Is Yet Another Global Creative Shop About to Name a New CEO?
5 agencies have found new leaders in the past year
By Noreen O'Leary
Is there yet another high-profile agency executive change coming?
Publicis Groupe is looking to replace Leo Burnett CEO Tom Bernardin, sources said, making it just the latest top executive change at the largest networks in the past year—including Kevin Roberts’ departure at Saatchi & Saatchi, Tom Carroll at TBWA, Bob Jeffrey at JWT and Jean-Yves Naouri (global executive chairman) at Publicis.
That number increases over the past two years, including the exit of Draftfcb’s Laurence Boschetto and McCann Worldgroup’s Nick Brien.
It is unusually high turnover, with some of the current changes generational; Bernardin, Roberts and Jeffrey are all in their early to mid-60s. Still, some wonder about the mounting pressures on casting at the top of networks being remade by technology. “There’s a transformation in the business that is making it difficult for this generation of executives to stay up [in the business],” said John Challenger, CEO at executive recruiters Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
At many U.S.-based networks, execs replacing global CEOs spent much of their careers outside America. Roberts' British replacement at Saatchi, Robert Senior, spent his career in London; Gustavo Martinez, the Argentina-born exec succeeding Jeffrey at JWT, worked primarily in Europe, Latin America and Asia; Australian Troy Ruhanen, succeeding Carroll at TBWA, has also spent time in Australia and Asia Pacific; and FCB's Briton Carter Murray worked in Germany and Europe.
It remains unclear who would be in line to replace Bernardin, with Publicis Groupe dismissing speculation about his departure as a “silly rumor.”