Agency network Grey Worldwide has unveiled a cultural shift in the way it operates.

The New York-headquartered shop, part of Grey Global Group acquired last March by WPP Group, is to raise the profile of its strategic planning and creative offerings, bringing them onto an equal footing with account management.

The latter was always seen as Grey's forte under its founding-chairman Ed Meyer. However, as the 78-year old veteran takes a back seat in the running of the firm, new ceo Jim Heekin is bringing his "team" philosophy to bear.

Heekin, who joined Grey from Havas-owned Euro RSCG in August, believes strong strategic planning is crucial to an agency's success because it provides insight into what consumers think and feel about a brand.

The new order will see creative and strategic planning groups together on particular floors. Account managers will be sprinkled within each group.

Grey's top 100 executives from outside the US will come to New York in the spring to see how it operates and hear from Heekin how the plan will be applied in their regions.

Strengthening Grey's creative product and reputation is potentially the most difficult task of all. It has been criticized as lackluster.

Comments chief creative officer and president-North America, Tim Mellors: "[To change that] we've got to have sounder strategy, and to be sharper in execution. We're not laboring under any illusions. You have to prove it in the work."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff