Dolan Quits Y&R Helm by ‘Mutual Decision’; Replaced by Fudge

13 May 2003

Following “differences of opinion” with Sir Martin Sorrell over the way he ran Young & Rubicam, ceo Mike Dolan (56) has abruptly quit the WPP-owned agency network citing a “mutual decision”.

The news came as a shock to agency executives and Wall Street analysts alike. Dolan however, was insouciant: “I intend to work on my backstroke,” he said. “This was three years in the making .... I think this is a great moment to make the change.” His resignation took immediate effect.

Into Dolan’s shoes steps Ann Fudge (52), a former food marketer who has never run an agency in her life. She quit a senior position with Kraft in 2001, since when she has earned a crust by serving on the boards of a number of prestigious companies, among them Honeywell International, Marriott International and General Electric [whose respective agencies have already developed a nervous tic].

Fudge is the first African-American to be appointed to such a senior post in a global agency network. She will focus on winning new business, one of her first acts yesterday being to chew the fat with former colleague Betsy Holden (now co-ceo at Kraft) and other Y&R clients. Otherwise: “The first thing I am going to do is listen,” she said.

When asked for his views on the latest revolving door, Sir Martin’s lips remained uncharacteristically zipped.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff