Sarah Patterson is leaving the agency after three years to pursue other interests, the agency said, and she will be succeeded by Michelle Edelman, who will join the agency Sept. 22 from Publicis Groupe's LB Works, where she is chief planning officer. Ms. Patterson, whose last day at Ogilvy is Sept. 19, couldn't be reached for comment.
Ms. Edelman, who turns 39 next week, will report to the agency's co-managing directors, Linda Garrison and Joe Sciarrotta, who also is executive creative director.
"She's a very dynamic intellect," Ms. Garrison said. "She has such an exuberance about what she does. It's pretty infectious, and with her reputation in the industry and with new-business wins, she seemed like a perfect fit for us in Chicago."
At LB Works, Ms. Edelman led planning, including teams on such Effie Award-winning accounts as Kraft Foods' Altoids, Maytag Appliances and 3Com's Handspring. Ms. Edelman earlier held senior planning posts within Leo Burnett marketing services units Leo Burnett TFA and Leo Burnett Technology Group, as well as marketing management positions at Platinum Technology and Accenture.
Working with creative
Ms. Edelman said she hopes to work closely with the creative department to better incorporate consumer insights into creative development. "Without anchoring the strategies, it's harder to know what the edges [of the creative product] might be," she said. "I want to help them to understand where the opportunities are and help to push them.
"In talking to some of the senior creatives [at Ogilvy], they're dying for more insight and infusion of reality into the work and to have the opportunity to explore the outer reaches of creative ideas," she added. "There are some clients there that are in categories that do breakthrough work, and those clients could really get there and the agency really wants that."
Challenging business year
The move comes as Ogilvy moves into the fourth quarter of a challenging business year. The Chicago agency currently is part of a larger Ogilvy team defending its place on the agency roster of SABMiller's Miller Brewing Co. It also is one of three Chicago roster shops for Kraft Foods facing compensation scrutiny as agency contracts expire at the end of the year.
In April, Ogilvy settled for a smaller role on the Sears, Roebuck & Co. business it shares with WPP sibling Young & Rubicam, Chicago. In January, Unilever unit Good Humor Breyers consolidated its $20 million ice cream advertising account with Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis.
"It seems the new-business stuff is on 24-month cycle," Ms. Garrison said. "It's interminable." Compensation also has been a challenge as well. "Clients always are looking for a way to cut costs and one thing is agency compensation," she added. "It used to be you'd have one conversation every two years and now it feels like a daily occurrence."
The shop has had some wins. Earlier this month, Brown & Williamson Tobacco shifted its $28 million Pall Mall account to the agency from Grey Global Group's G2, New York.