Mr. Martinez won't take on the role of global president until February 2014. He'll assume the role of Worldwide CEO in 2015, at which time Mr. Jeffrey will become non-executive chairman. Mr. Jeffrey will continue as Worldwide CEO through 2014.
"Over the past few years Gustavo and I have cultivated a relationship of mutual admiration and respect. He is passionate about the business, devoted to clients and understands that the key asset of the business is the caring, nurturing and understanding of its people. Gustavo Martinez is the future of JWT," said Mr. Jeffrey in a statement.
Mr. Martinez most recently served as president of Interpublic Group's McCann Worldgroup in Europe and Asia. In previous posts he served as director of global brand management and global new business; director of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide; and Latina South region president of Ogilvy & Mather Argentina. Earlier in his career, Mr. Martinez held positions with Saatchi & Saatchi and McCann Erickson Communications Group in Barcelona.
The Argentinian is 50 years-old.
"I have had the honor of leading JWT for 15 years, the last 10 of them as Worldwide CEO," said Mr. Jeffrey. "I love JWT -- the brands, the clients and most importantly, the people. Throughout 2014, Gustavo and I will work very closely together to guarantee that we continue to provide the very best support to our clients and the agency, and to ensure a seamless transition in 2015."
Mr. Jeffrey joined the firm in 1998 as president of JWT, New York, and three years later ascended to president of JWT North America. In 2004, he was named worldwide chairman and CEO.
The move comes on the heels of a creative shakeup at the firm. Omnicom's BBDO recently hired JWT New York Chief Creative Officer Matt MacDonald as an executive creative director. In May 2012, JWT hired Ryan Kutscher and promoted Mr. MacDonald, naming the executives co-chief creative officers in New York. Mr. Kutscher then abruptly left this April, less than a year after joining the firm. JWT did not immediately re-fill that post, but Jeff Benjamin, North America chief creative officer, remains in his role.
JWT has been proactive on the hiring front and this past June made an effort to bring global talent to New York. The shop hired BBDO Europe's Peter Sherman to serve as the CEO of its New York office.
--Contributing: Ann-Christine Diaz
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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said Matt MacDonald was hired by DDB. He was hired by BBDO.