Mr. Wilmot will report to Jerry Judge, CEO of Lowe Plus Draft and Lowe & Partners Worldwide, and Howard Draft, chairman of Lowe Plus Draft and chairman-CEO of Draft. The 50-year-old executive was most recently senior vice president of planning and business development at parent Interpublic Group of Cos.
Not a merger
Lowe Plus Draft was created in late March but is not considered a merger by the two agencies. The union is described as an alignment to consolidate back-office and administrative functions in some overseas markets and to drive collaborative opportunities to both agencies. A consulting unit, Plus, was formed to propel business to both agencies.
As chief operating officer, Mr. Wilmot will manage growth initiatives and identify opportunities for the agencies to operate more efficiently.
"We have been looking for the final piece in the Lowe Plus Draft management jigsaw for some time," Mr. Judge said in a statement. "We were fortunate that we were able to persuade Interpublic to release the only candidate we ever really wanted. Gunnar will bring a freshness of perspective, experience and charm."
Mr. Wilmot has been running agencies for 22 years and has a long history with Interpublic agency McCann-Erickson Worldwide. He started his career in 1977 at the now-defunct SSC&B, New York, and was part of the shuffle to Lintas when Interpublic acquired SSC&B in 1979.
He moved to McCann-Erickson in 1985 and rose to executive vice president and deputy general manager of McCann, New York, in the late 1980s. He then proceeded to take on an overseas post as chairman of McCann-Germany, Frankfurt. From January 1997 until early 2000, he was McCann's worldwide account director for its General Motors Corp.'s account and executive vice president heading the agency's Troy, Mich., office.
Relationship with Dooner
In late 2001, John Dooner, then chairman-CEO of Interpublic, promoted Mr. Wilmot to his corporate post from executive vice president for worldwide accounts at McCann, London. The two executives had known each other from their time at McCann.
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Jean Halliday contributed to this report.