In a rare top level defection from WPP Group, William Eccleshare - chairman and chief executive of Young & Rubicam Brands in Europe, the Middle East and Africa - is to continue ruling the region ... albeit not for WPP.

Instead he will shortly take up the EMEA reins at Omnicom network BBDO Worldwide. First, however, he must negotiate a somewhat tricky route out of the WPP departure lounge.

The exit of London-based Eccleshare (49) is seen in some quarters as yet another setback for the beleaguered Y&R network, of which WPP ceo Sir Martin Sorrell recently observed: "Young & Rubicam ... has to raise its game and we are taking actions to try to improve that level of success [WAMN: 05-Mar-05]."

Such improvement, however, will take place without Eccleshare, who joins BBDO as it tries to kick its dependency on TV commercials in favour of a multi-disciplinary habit.

According to BBDO ceo Andrew Robertson, this is one reason why his agency has hired Eccleshare, given his experience in managing complex marketing-oriented organisations.

The Y&R honcho has an extensive multi-disciplinary background, encompassing oversight of Y&R's promotional and direct marketing offshoot Wunderman, plus two years as a partner at management consultancy McKinsey, preceded by twenty years of agency life at JWT and the former Ammirati Puris Lintas.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff