Global CEO Rick Roth Leaves OgilvyAction

Team of Regional Directors Will Take Over the Experiential Division

By Published on .

NEW YORK ( -- The changing of the guard continues at WPP's Ogilvy, where CEO Miles Young has announced the exit of another longtime executive: Rick Roth, the global CEO of OgilvyAction and a nearly 30-year Ogilvy veteran, is departing effective immediately.

Rick Roth
Rick Roth
The move was announced in a memo distributed to employees, which stated Mr. Roth's position won't be replaced. Instead, regional directors of OgilvyAction -- the experiential arm of Ogilvy that has offices in some 50 countries -- will step up to form a leadership group to oversee the business. They are: Sheila Hartnett, responsible for North America; Regis Duarte, charged with Latin America; John Goodman to oversee Asia/Pacific; and Steve Harding to oversee the European and Middle East region.

Mr. Roth could not be reached for comment. He joined Ogilvy in 1981 as an account executive working on brands such as Maxwell House, Kraft and Post cereals, and was later credited with bringing in the Miller Lite business. He was asked to join Ogilvy's Worldwide Board in 2001.

In a memo to employees, Mr. Young said in guiding the OgilvyAction unit through mergers, Mr. Roth made the combined unit "into something truly Ogilvy." Chairman Shelly Lazarus was also quoted: "He has made an enormous contribution to Ogilvy and to his clients, indefatigable in getting the best resources and the best work for those in his care. He leaves a strong legacy of client service and of loyalty to Ogilvy. He will be missed."

Since taking the reins at Ogilvy at the start of 2009, Mr. Young, the agency's former head of Asia-Pacific operations, has been quick to make C-suite changes across all of the agency's various operating units in order to reinvigorate the network. That's involved everything from hot new hires to a shuffling of the deck chairs.

This spring the agency appointed a new managing director for OgilvyOne, Harvey Kipnis, who dropped his prior role as chief growth officer for Ogilvy North America. It also brought back Mat Zucker, who was most recently at, to serve as an executive creative director at OgilvyOne; and recruited Lars Bastholm, a former AKQA executive, to oversee digital creative.

At Ogilvy & Mather advertising, Mr. Young broke up the dual CEO regime in the agency's struggling North American region, elevating veterans such as account baron John Seifert and creative Steve Hayden. But at Ogilvy Healthworld, he named Gloria Gibbons and Donna Tuths joint global CEOs last month.

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