Tor Myhren, Grey Worldwide chief creative officer and New York president, will be leaving the agency to join Apple as its VP-marketing communications, the company announced today. Mr. Myhren will report to CEO Tim Cook and will be replacing Hiroki Asai, who previously announced his plans to retire after nearly two decades heading up graphic design and marketing communications at the company. He will join Apple in the first quarter of next year.
Mr. Myhren is a creative leader who accomplished what other top execs have attempted yet failed to do: transform a once-stodgy and sluggish big shop into one of advertising's most creative companies. During his time at Grey, the agency delivered ETrade's talking baby and a stream of hits for DirecTV, including the "Cable Effects" campaign that President Bill Clinton cited as his favorite advertising, as well as the more recent spots starring Rob Lowe and his bizarre doppelgangers.
Ad Age named Grey its Agency of the Year in 2014. So it seems his new post will be fitting for Apple, a company that has been negotiating how to handle its advertising and marketing going forward following the passing of its founder Steve Jobs.
"My eight years at Grey aren't just the best years of my career, they've been the best years of my life," said Mr. Myhren in a statement. "I have treasured every single minute of working side by side with my mentor and friend Jim Heekin. There are no words to express how proud I am of what we built together."
As for his new gig, "Apple has had such a positive influence on my life, and has helped shape and inspire my creativity more than any other product on the planet," he said. "I am humbled to be joining Tim and the team."
Grey has no immediate plans to replace Mr. Myrhen. Andreas Dahlqvist, who joined as New York chief creative officer at the beginning of this year, will continue to head up creative in New York.
Jim Heekin, Chairman-CEO of Grey Group sent the following note to staffers:
"I wanted to share some news with you. Tor Myhren who has been with Grey for the past eight years, first as Chief Creative Officer and later President of Grey New York and, for the past two years, as Worldwide Chief Creative Officer, will be leaving at the end of the year.
Tor will be joining Apple Inc. and moving to California with his growing family, a lifestyle change they have been contemplating for some time.
After a spectacular run at Grey, Tor wants to try his hand on the client side for this iconic tech company that has changed our culture and how we communicate.
As the head of the Grey Global Creative Council, Tor has made a monumental contribution to our success, enhancing our creative product, talent and profile around the world. Today, we have a deep bench of accomplished creative leaders in place across the world to fuel our continued momentum.
Tor takes with him our gratitude and warmest wishes for continued success as he opens this new chapter in his career. Please give him your congratulations and thanks.