Mr. Hayden, the writer of Apple Computer's fabled "1984" while at Chiat/Day, is stepping down as chairman of Apple agency BBDO West in Los Angeles to take the new job of president of worldwide brand services-IBM at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide in New York.
"There's a considerable amount of risk in doing this," he said. "I can't guarantee whether I will succeed or fail. I can guarantee that I will learn a great deal."
Mr. Hayden added: "The real essence of this job is going to be revitalizing the value of that brand on a global basis, which is sort of an irresistible challenge."
For O&M, which landed IBM Corp.'s global account without a review last May, Mr. Hayden will try to make sense out of "a $500 million mess," one associate said. Ironically, IBM hired O&M after BBDO turned down a chance to talk because of loyalties to Apple.
For now at least, the $150 million-plus Apple account seems stable at BBDO.
"We're absolutely dedicated to the current partnership with BBDO," said Ann Winkler, acting director of worldwide corporate advertising. Michael Markman, whose aggressive management style caused friction with the agency, recently left that post to become director of marketing communications for multimedia at Apple.
Mr. Hayden will oversee the IBM brand but not creative, account service or media.
"One view is that everybody on IBM reports to me," he said. "Another view is that nobody on IBM reports to me."
Mr. Hayden didn't quarrel with sources' estimates that he will make a hefty $900,000 or so in salary and bonuses at O&M.
IBM will be no easy assignment. Two high-level O&M executives have quietly relinquished their IBM duties: Robyn Putter, chairman-creative director at O&M in Johannesburg, who was to oversee worldwide creative, and Gerald McGee, exec VP-managing director in Los Angeles, who was to run the North American account.
Mr. Hayden, 47, over the past year ceded day-to-day involvement on Apple to David Lubars, 35, president-executive creative director. Mr. Hayden now says he had been planning to take a month or more sabbatical next year and then seek "a broader role" within BBDO.
Apple just ended its second-best quarter in history in unit sales of computers, and Mr. Lubars' fall campaign drew a standing ovation at Apple's annual sales meeting.
This year, BBDO's Los Angeles office has lost its general manager and worldwide Apple account director. Mr. Lubars said he's close to hiring a new account director.
BBDO could be in for another loss: Chris Wall and Susan Westre, the longtime Apple creative duo who relocated this year to BBDO's Paris office, may get wooed by Mr. Hayden. "Steve needs to hire some good people," Mr. Wall said, quickly adding that he and his partner are happy at BBDO.