LONDON: Few eyebrows were raised at WPP Group's announcement Wednesday that the Grey Global Group throne will be occupied by James Heekin after the abdication on January 1 of Emperor Ed Meyer.

The ad industry has viewed Heekin as Meyer's natural successor since his appointment in September last year as the agency network's chairman/ceo.

The traditional "Aw, shucks" was delivered with grace. Said Heekin: "Taking the reins of Grey Global Group is a highpoint in my professional life and I am extremely enthused about our future."

Among the new king's senior courtiers are two vice-chairmen: Joe Celia, responsible for network strategic development via acquisitions and joint ventures in emerging marketing and new media channels; and Tim Mellors, new overseer of Grey's creative product globally and across all business lines.

Said Heekin of his lieutenants: "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."

Not to be outdone, kingmaker Sir Martin Sorrell, perhaps envisaging himself in the role of crowning Archbishop, delivered the ceremonial eulogy.

"Jim Heekin will be focusing on raising Grey's creative standards even further with the help of Tim Mellors on its integrated offer, particularly in the area of internet, interactive and digital with Joe Celia.

"I also want to thank Ed Meyer for the selfless way he has supervised such a smooth transition and on his remarkable career as a leader in our industry."

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff