And the New Grey Global CEO is ...

18 August 2005

Give up? Go on, you'll never guess!

It's none other than ...

... James R Heekin, 56, late ceo of Havas network Euro RSCG until he quit last month after control of the group was seized by French corporate raider Vincent Bolloré.

Not since Mao Zedong won his twenty-sixth successive standing ovation at the People's Party Conference has there been such universal amazement.

As of September 6, Heekin will assume the joint role of chairman/ceo at the Grey Worldwide agency network. He replaces but remains subordinate to septuagenarian survivor Ed Meyer (78), who retains the reins of holding company Grey Global Group, WPP's most recently acquired tchotchke.

At the helm of GGG, Meyer not only controls the Grey ad network but also Grey Direct, G2, GCI, Grey Interactive and Alliance. His contract expires at the end of 2006, from which date Heekin is expected to steer the Grey flotilla.

Meyer is enthusiastic at Sir Martin Sorrell's approval of his successor. "I've wanted to hire Jim for a couple of years and came very close two years back," he said. "This is one of those chances in life that you get to revisit."

More importantly yet: "He lives five blocks from Grey and was born in Cincinnati," notes Meyer - a reference to the home base of Grey's largest client, Procter & Gamble, whose endorsement matters even more than that of Sir Martin.

And the admiration is mutual. "Grey is a consummate global business and a consistently strong, good agency. As long as Ed is here, I want to take advantage of everything he knows," ingratiates Heekin.

Heekin joined Euro RSCG in October 2003 after being ousted as chairman/ceo of McCann Erickson Worldwide in the wake of a financial debacle that caused Interpublic Group to restate $181.3 million (€148m; £100m) in earnings.

Data sourced from AdWeek (USA); additional content by WARC staff