Graham Phillips, chairman of Burson-Marsteller and chairman-CEO of Y&R Diversified Communications Group, will move to the post of worldwide chairman-CEO of Y&R Advertising.
Mr. Phillips, 60, is no stranger to the ad world; he worked at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide for 27 years and served as its chairman-CEO from 1989-92. He retired and was lured back to the business in 1997 by Y&R.
An airplane stunt pilot and avid scuba diver, Mr. Phillips already has plans for his return to the ad world.
ISSUES A CHALLENGE
Disappointed with the quality of the creative work in the industry-"very poor and creatively self-indulgent," he said-Mr. Phillips will issue the challenge at Y&R to be relevant, creative and effective.
He also said he wants to move Y&R into a more horizontal organizational structure to make the agency quicker and more efficient. Y&R also is working on a tightly integrated Internet plan to be implemented under his watch.
Earlier last week, Y&R promoted Y&R Advertising Chairman-CEO Tom Bell, 49, to president-chief operating officer of the holding company. Mr. Bell, along with Ed Vick, 54, named chief creative officer, will take over operation of the holding company next year as Chairman-CEO Peter Georgescu, 60, steps down.
Effective Jan. 1, Mr. Vick becomes chairman and Mr. Bell CEO.
Mr. Vick was offered the dual role. After initially agreeing to do it, however, he changed his mind after a soul-searching summer vacation last year. He decided he wanted to spend time with his young children and family more than he wanted to run a public company.
"I don't really have to do it and I don't really want to do it," Mr. Vick said. "I want to be able to balance my personal life and work that I really like doing."
It was at that time that management decided to bring Mr. Bell up from the Burson-Marsteller public relations unit, where he was president-CEO, to head Y&R Advertising.
Mr. Bell takes over the duties of seeing to it that the business grows, handling the account and financial sides of the business; Mr. Vick will focus on the creative product and the continued differentiation of Y&R services.
As for how long he'll stay as chairman, Mr. Vick said: "At least one year and no longer than five."
Mr. Bell said he plans to concentrate on several issues as he moves into the CEO chair. Those include global integration, agency and client consolidation, database marketing, customer relationship management, and the ongoing effects of the Internet.
When asked about continuing rumors of a possible buyout of Y&R, Mr. Bell responded: "Anything is possible. We'll just run the business without any concern or interest in those types of possibilities. We'll focus on doing the best possible work on behalf of our clients. That's the best possible defense."
Mr. Bell's lack of extensive past ad experience doesn't seem to be a factor for Y&R clients.
"Tom is extremely smart and experienced. Make no mistake-Tom really understands advertising," said Stephen Graham, VP-marketing communications worldwide at AT&T