O&M appoints worldwide creative director

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NEW YORK -- Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide has named Neil French, its Asia/Pacific regional creative director, to worldwide creative director, a position that has lain vacant since the 1980s.

The appointment is driven by a combination of increasing client globalization and O&M's drive to raise creative standards across the world, evidenced by the reformation of its Creative Council 18 months ago as a body with more clout.

The agency network claims Mr. French's position is unusual in that its authority comes from the Creative Council, whose collective will it'll be his job to carry out.

Shelly Lazarus, O&M's chairman and CEO, says Mr. French offers something "very intriguing: size and creativity aren't perceived as compatible in out industry, yet O&M is both the largest and the most awarded agency network in Asia/Pacific."

Mr. French, who will continue to be Singapore-based, began his advertising career in the U.K. with Sterling Advertising in the 1960s. Subsequent jobs, including hotel waiter, nightclub singer and bullfighter, led him to set up his own U.K. shop. After brief spells with Grey Advertising and Holmes Knight Ritchie, he joined O&M, Singapore, in 1982. He left to work for The Ball Partnership in 1986 and then Batey Advertising, before returning to O&M, Singapore, as regional creative director for Asia/Pacific.

O&M's Creative Council was charged 18 months ago with the mandate to join forces with agency management and together take "whatever steps necessary" to produce better work. The six Council members were also appointed regional creative directors, working with the heads of regions to improve creativity.

Copyright August 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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