Mr. Love joined the agency in April 2004 from Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi where he was vice chairman and head of the P&G account. In his first assignment, he moved to Tokyo as co-chairman, G1 Worldwide, a joint venture between TBWA and Hakuhodo and headed up the $1.5 billion global Nissan account. But the shuffle that has him returning stateside will see him focus on his position as head of global clients, and with his noncompete clause behind him, Mr. Love is free to pursue his old pals from Cincinnati.
They appear more willing and likely partners than ever. P&G's Global Chief Marketing Officer Jim Stengel has been trying to raise creative standards at the package-goods giant, and has already this summer opened its roster to Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., for two assignments, one for Eukanuba pet food (which would be a conflict with TBWA's handling of Mars' Pedigree and Whiskas pet food) and one for an Ivory project in Canada.
At the Cannes International Advertising Festival in France, Mr. Stengel met with TBWA executives, among other leading creative shops. Meanwhile, TBWA parent Omnicom Group has gained a spot as a P&G holding company by virtue of BBDO's hold on the Gillette account. Some agency watchers say it's inevitable that Omnicom will end up with a bigger chunk of P&G's $4 billion budget.
THE DRU DRAMA
Luring P&G and handling other global clients will be a big job for Mr. Love, but not the big job some thought he was going to get.
While TBWA was courting clients like P&G at Cannes, one of its rivals, Havas, was courting CEO Jean-Marie Dru, hoping he'd take over as CEO of the holding company. After week long drama, Mr. Dru announced his decision to remain with TBWA. But in the meantime, Mr. Love's name was bandied about along with that of Paul Bainsfair, president-Europe, and other candidates to head up the agency in the event Mr. Dru was no longer available.
Mr. Love's return to the U.S. was accompanied by changes in duties for three other key TBWA executives. John McNeel, worldwide account director on the $500 million global Mars account at TBWA, will replace Mr. Love in Tokyo as president of G1 Worldwide (see The Player, P. 18). Corey Mitchell, who handled Pennzoil, Sara Lee and other businesses in the Playa del Rey, Calif., shop, replaces Mr. McNeel as head of the Mars global business.
In other moves, Walt Smith, who ran Nissan's Infiniti business out of the Playa del Rey office, will move to Europe to head up the Nissan account working out of the Paris office.
TBWA executives denied these latest changes were connected with a succession plan for Mr. Dru, who said he intends to remain with the agency long term. "These moves are totally unrelated to [Mr. Dru's flirtation with Havas] and were in the works well before Cannes," said one TBWA executive who said the agency is "stockpiling" talent.
Mr. Dru, Mr. Love and other TBWA executives did not return calls by press time.
Was: Co-chairman G1 Worldwide and president-global clients unit
Now: President-global clients unit
Challenge: To secure TBWA’s share of P&G business as it moves to more creative shops.
Credentials: Worked for more than 25 years on P&G business, including as vice chairman-international, Saatchi & Saatchi. He is credited by some with the development of the self-draining cap for Tide’s liquid laundry detergent.