Mr. Sawyer will join Lowe in San Francisco after Labor Day; he officially leaves Wieden in August. He succeeds Bob Jeffrey, who left in March to become president of J. Walter Thompson USA, New York.
"This is not a fixer-upper," he said. "Sun [Microsystems] provides us with a great [client] base. We want to start broadening out from that base."
For the last six years, Mr. Sawyer has overseen Wieden's growth in Europe, from 14 staffers in 1992 to 140 people in four service offices today.
Mr. Sawyer is an Oakland, Calif., native, and said he wanted to bring his family back to the U.S.
He expects to work with Lowe Co-chairmen Lee Garfinkel and Marvin Sloves on the ongoing search for a new creative director for San Francisco.