McCann Poaches Andreas Dahlqvist From DDB Stockholm in Latest Big-Name Hire

Creative Swede Has Been a Constant on the Awards Circuit

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Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann has acquired another creative heavy hitter. Andreas Dahlqvist, top creative at DDB Stockholm, is departing the Omnicom Group shop to become executive creative director and vice chairman of McCann's New York office.

Andreas Dahlqvist
Andreas Dahlqvist

He was recruited by New York and London Chief Creative Officer Linus Karlsson, who joined McCann from Mother early this year. "Me and Andreas starting talking when I came on board, since Feb. 1," Mr. Karlsson told Ad Age . "What he's done at DDB Stockholm is unbelievable. On a personal level I've always hired people with good hearts, and we want to build a culture. One of his talents is that people around him want to work with him, and Andreas has a way of getting the best out of people."

Mr. Karlsson, a Swede who has worked in the U.S. for many years, has recruited a handful of fellow Swedes to McCann in the past few months, but he says that 's "slightly coincidental."

"I'm not looking only at Sweden, I'm looking at the best people wherever they come from. I'm looking at this globally and I want to have the strongest possible creative collective in North America and in Europe out of London."

Mr. Dahlqvist's move to McCann from DDB's Swedish outpost -- which he grew to 130 staffers from only 18 seven years ago, and was a constant on the creative awards circuit, netting trophies for the likes of McDonald's and Volkswagen -- is surprising considering the success that office has seen recent years. But he told Ad Age his decision to move is partly because he's ready for a new challenge, and to continue helping big global marketers up their creative game.

"It's always been my philosophy to do the best work on the largest clients, and with McCann it's an opportunity to apply creativity at scale," Mr. Dahlqvist said. "And I really like to build things, and it's just a great to get the opportunity to come into McCann at this point. McCann is really showing that this is for real; with Linus's role and with my role, they are really putting creativity in the driver's seat. ... It's really contagious, the energy and vibe that [Mr. Karlsson and McCann Worldgroup CEO Nick Brien] both show. What I'm seeing is that they are playing a game to win, as opposed to a defensive game."

He began his career in art director posts in Sweden, and from 1999 to 2003 he was creative director and founder of interactive agency The Bearded Lady. From there he went to the agency that became DDB's Swedish outpost, Paradiset.

Mr. Dahlqvist hasn't finalized when he'll be starting in his new position, but he aims to wrap up in Sweden and move with his family to New York in the late summer. It marks a return to the city for him; for a couple of years in the '90s he had an internship at a small New York shop.

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