TBWA Names Chris Garbutt Global Creative President

Move is Latest in String of Senior Executive Changes

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Chris Garbutt
Chris Garbutt
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TBWA is making yet another senior executive change, this time recruiting Chris Garbutt from Ogilvy & Mather to be the agency's global creative president and chief creative officer of TBWA's New York office.

Mr. Garbutt comes to TBWA from his role as chief creative officer of Ogilvy & Mather New York/East Coast, a role he took in early 2014 after serving as Ogilvy's chief creative officer in France. The global creative president role has been vacant since Rob Schwartz was named CEO of TBWA/Chiat/Day New York in January.

The chief creative officer role in New York had been open since Mark Figliulo left in July 2013 to form his own shop, though executive creative director Matt Ian, who joined the agency the same month Mr. Figliulo left, had largely been overseeing creative in the office as executive creative director.

As global creative president, he will oversee creative direction on TBWA's global clients including Nissan, McDonald's, Adidas, Pernod Ricard and more. For the New York office, he will work closely with Mr. Schwartz, who was tasked with reinvigorating TBWA's New York office by attracting more global accounts and restoring its stature in the global network.

Mr. Garbutt will report to Mr. Ruhanen and to Worldwide Creative Director John Hunt, the company said in a statement. Mr. Ruhanen has been making a number of executive changes since his arrival last July, including a global reorganization with the aim of embracing a "less traditional model."

Part of those changes includes an emphasis on staffing up on senior creative talent in order to restore the agency's creative prowess. The network last year recruited Nils Andersson to oversee creative in greater China, along with naming Gary McCreadie and Wesley Hawes the top creatives in Sydney. Stateside, TBWA promoted Stephen Butler to the chief creative role in its Los Angeles office.

For Mr. Garbutt, the new job is a return to TBWA. Prior to his years at Ogilvy, he worked in creative roles at TBWA in Paris, where he worked on Nissan, Absolut, PlayStation, Canderel and Pedigree. He started his advertising career in 1997 at TBWA/Hunt/Lascaris in South Africa.

"Our client partners want and deserve the very best minds on their business, and our people throughout the network want to be inspired every day by creative leaders who are keen on making the unreal real," said TBWA Worldwide CEO Troy Ruhanen in a statement. "Chris is one such leader, and not having him wasn't an option in my book -- he is one of ours. The richness and volume of his work speaks for itself, and his leadership and thinking will ensure TBWA remains The Disruption Company."

It wasn't immediately clear if Ogilvy would replace Mr. Garbutt in an East Coast creative officer role, but the agency in January promoted Corinna Falusi to chief creative in the New York office.

Ogilvy said in a statement: "Ogilvy & Mather has accepted Chris Garbutt's resignation from his role as chief creative officer of Ogilvy & Mather East. We appreciate Chris's accomplishments to the Ogilvy & Mather network over the past decade and, specifically, to the New York agency over the past year. We wish Chris all the best and have no further comment at this time. "