ONCE MUIRHEAD'S SHADOW, BISHOP NOW IS THE MAN

By Published on .

Most Popular
When former Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising North America Chairman-CEO Bill Muirhead recruited his buddy Alan Bishop to help invigorate Saatchi's New York headquarters last year, Mr. Muirhead joked that Mr. Bishop was his "shadow."

Indeed, it took Mr. Muirhead-Saatchi's fair-haired boy turned enfant terrible-weeks to decide last spring on the title of North American chief operating officer for his affable sidekick.

Now, Mr. Muirhead is gone, off to join ousted Saatchi & Saatchi Co. Chairman Maurice Saatchi and other acolytes in forming the New Saatchi Agency. And the man who has his job is Mr. Bishop.

"I'd always hoped I'd take over for Bill in this job, but I didn'texpect these circumstances," said Mr. Bishop who, one gets the feeling, is better suited to a leather bomber jacket than a designer suit and tie.

Indeed, the boyish, 41-year-old jazz and rock 'n' roll enthusiast is probably the only top agency CEO with a one-bedroom apartment in one of the more unconventional corners of Greenwich Village.

"I believe it's very good to have modest accommodations at the moment," Mr. Bishop said with a verbal wink at the lavish lifestyle that helped prompt Mr. Saatchi's ouster. "There are no artificial lakes in my apartment."

Mr. Bishop's sense of humor will serve him well. In his first month on the job, he's starting to try to bolster internal morale, soothe clients and become better known throughout the agency.

"For New York, the critical issue is that people aren't distracted by what's going on elsewhere," he said. U.S.-based clients are "irritated" by the management fracas "but apart from that they've been extremely supportive."

Mr. Bishop's nine-month New York residency is his first outside the U.K., where he worked on Procter & Gamble Co. and Mars agency business.

"I wanted to be at the center of the advertising business," Mr. Bishop said of his move. "... I wanted to be where the action is."

So far, Mr. Bishop has traveled far better than all but one of the London-based executives who assumed posts at Saatchi and sister agency Bates Worldwide in New York in the past year. Besides Mr. Muirhead, the departed include three top British transplants at Bates and Peter Levitan, a London-based American who transferred to the New York office.

Of Mr. Muirhead, Mr. Bishop said somberly: "We hope that we will be friends."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------Alan Bishop

BIRTH DATE: Aug. 2, 1953, in London

EDUCATION: Oxford University, honors in history, 1974

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Trainee account exec at Hobson Bates, London,

1974-1978; partner at now-defunct Milton Sharam Gottlieb, until 1981;

account director at Foote, Cone & Belding, London, 1981-1983; board

director at Ted Bates, 1983-1985; joined Saatchi & Saatchi

Advertising, London-named chairman, 1990. Moved to Saatchi & Saatchi

Advertising North America, New York, as chief operating officer,

1994. Named chairman-CEO in January.

In this article: