Mr. Moreira, no stranger to doing two jobs at once, will remain vice chairman-chief creative officer, but will relinquish his role running Asia for McCann-Erickson.
"By naming a creative person to also be head of global brands, [Chairman-CEO John] Dooner wants to provide clients with a broader view of brand building," Mr. Moreira said.
In an industry terrified of the growing power of management consultants over their biggest clients, Mr. Moreira, 50, will operate in a role akin to those consultants.
"I'll sit down at the highest possible level at the client organization and help develop brands," he said. "It's about brands, rather than accounts-that's the biggest shift."
McCann handles 28 clients in more than 20 countries. Mr. Moreira already works closely with many global clients, such as Nestle, Cathay Pacific Airways, Unilever and Johnson & Johnson.
"There's always been a feeling in most agencies that creative work done for global brands is not the most exciting," he said. "The idea of having a creative person who is responsible for global brands is: Maybe we can improve it and elevate the level of creativity. But I'm not going to just be looking at ads-I'll look at every aspect of the brand."
HAMILTON HEADS ASIA
Peter Hamilton, 53, exec VP-director of worldwide accounts, with responsibility for global new business, is moving from New York to Sydney to take over Asia as regional director for Asia-Pacific.
Mr. Moreira was appointed to that Asian post four years ago with no Asian or regional management experience, and he remained based in New York, commuting to Tokyo and other cities.
The Asian operation has thrived. McCann ranks third among agency networks in Asia, after Japanese behemoths Dentsu and Hakuhodo, and is the biggest non-Japanese agency in Japan, the world's second-largest ad market.
Mr. Moreira is equally likely to be found hunkering down with Nestle CEO Peter Brabeck at his Swiss headquarters in Vevey to dissect Nestle's brand strategy or playing jazz piano at 3 a.m. at the Martinez Hotel during the International Advertising Festival in Cannes.
Outside of office hours, Mr. Moreira is a song lyricist with a new jazz record that is a hit in Japan. He's also a published poet, writing romantic poetry in both Portuguese and English.
A Brazilian, he speaks unaccented English, all the Romance languages including his native Portuguese, and Japanese, and he studied Mandarin briefly ("too tonal") when he became regional director for Asia-Pacific.
Mr. Moreira, a McCann staffer since the age of 19, understands the lure and promise of brands. He's a public champion of effective advertising, coining the McCann slogan, "Work that works, work that wins."