New Saatchi duo aim to reinvigorate shop

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In naming Mary Baglivo and Tony Granger the new leadership team at the New York office of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide last week, network Chairman-CEO Kevin Roberts is betting on the bench strength of their expertise in consumer package-goods and strong creative, respectively.

Ms. Baglivo, 46, takes on dual roles as CEO of the Publicis Groupe-owned agency's New York office and worldwide marketing director. She joins from Havas' Arnold, New York, where she was president. Her past experience includes two relatively short stints at executive-level agency jobs-CEO of now-defunct agency holding company Panoramic Communications and also at J. Walter Thompson for a couple of years. But her reputation rests on her skill with clients, honed during 19 years at Euro RSCG Tatham, Chicago, where she worked on various Procter & Gamble Co. brands. Mr. Granger, 43, a South African with hundreds of industry accolades to his credit, joins as executive creative director from Saatchi & Saatchi, London, where he held the same post.

The pair, who first met last year while judging an awards show in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, are taking on a big challenge.

no committee work

The charge: Add new business, improve the agency's creative and reinvigorate a stagnant office battered from a rough couple of years.

Accountwise, the agency in 2003 lost the Tylenol, Pepcid and St. Joseph accounts after Johnson & Johnson, a client that was with the agency since the 1980s, put its $185 million worth of business in review. And the shop only narrowly retained the $330 million Greater New York Toyota Dealer's Association business after a hard-fought review.

Managerially, Saatchi New York hasn't had a single leader for several years. An attempt to run the agency via a committee of multiple executives didn't work, Mr. Roberts conceded, because "no one could make a decision." Also unsuccessful was the more recent approach of naming co-CEOs in Scott Gilbert and Mike Burns. Mr. Gilbert is retiring, while Mr. Burns, a longtime account executive running General Mills, returns to that role. Tod Seisser, chief creative officer since 1998, is leaving.

The new tack of one CEO and one creative chief mirrors the model used at Saatchi offices elsewhere in the world, said Mr. Roberts.

Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide is well known for its London beginnings when founders Charles and Maurice Saatchi became famous for a 1978 campaign for the U.K.'s conservative party. It's also renowned for its global campaigns for powerhouse clients like P&G and General Mills, handling blue-chip brands including Tide and Cheerios.

But the New York office has in recent years been stagnant. Creatively, Saatchi "doesn't have much to show on its reel that comes from New York," said one review consultant. Bringing Mr. Granger, a highly regarded creative director with numerous award credits-including five Cannes Lions won during his brief stint in New York from 2001 to 2003 at now defunct Interpublic Group of Cos.' Bozell-is intended to change that situation.

from great to greater

P&G applauded the appointments. "The addition of both Mary and Tony is representative of Saatchi's commitment to bringing in excellent talent and upgrading a great agency to an even greater one," said Global Marketing Officer Jim Stengel. "Both are great fits for the culture at Saatchi."

Still, as Mr. Granger's experience at Bozell attests, even creative improvements and awards don't guarantee new-business success. Achieving that, and transforming a culture that has always been "about one thing-client service" more than self-promotion will be tough, said one executive who knows the place well. Asked another executive: "How do you go out and get growth?"

contributing: jack neff

Résumé

Name: Mary Baglivo

Age: 46

Title: CEO, New York, and worldwide marketing director

Who: President of Havas' Arnold; former Panoramic CEO.

Performance: Deep experience in package-goods and pharmaceuticals. Growth is her challenge.

Name: Tony Granger

Age: 43

Title: Exec creative director, New York

Who: Joined Saatchi, London, in 2003 from Interpublic Group of Cos.' Bozell, New York.

Performance: Winner of 40 Cannes Lions. Can that prowess build Saatchi's client roster?

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