|Former Leo Burnett executive Stephen Gatfield has been named the new CEO of Lowe Worldwide.
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In a widely expected move, Interpublic executive Stephen Gatfield will become Lowe’s next CEO, replacing Tony Wright after about 15 months on the job. Mr. Wright moves into the role of chairman, reporting to Mr. Gatfield. It’s an unusual reporting structure that keeps Mr. Wright, a valued client handler, near the top. The changes become effective in March.
Mr. Gatfield, a former Leo Burnett executive, is expected to bring much-needed operational experience and strategic guidance to Lowe, which has weathered a series of major client losses and management changes over the past few years. Mr. Wright, a planner by trade, came into the Lowe situation with no experience in running an ad agency network -- let alone one as challenged as Lowe.
Other changes are also likely, including a reduction in the amount of offices that comprise the Lowe network. Lowe now operates in about 85 markets.
Interpublic wants to revive the Lowe brand as a creative shop within Interpublic’s portfolio to make it an alternative or complement to sprawling distribution networks such as McCann Erickson and Foote Cone & Belding.
In another move, Lowe Chief Operating Officer Ed Powers is returning to his role as COO of Interpublic's CMG, according to executives familiar with the situation. The CMG unit houses Interpublic PR firms, including Weber Shandwick and GolinHarris as well as experiential-marketing firm Jack Morton.