2002 Rating: 1.5 stars
A new face at the top is the story of WPP Group's Young & Rubicam and Y&R Advertising. Former Kraft Foods executive Ann Fudge replaced Mike Dolan as chairman-CEO in May, thus becoming the first African-American woman to head a global agency network. Two months before her hire, the creative side also got a boost when BBDO Worldwide veteran Michael Patti joined as worldwide creative director and head of Y&R's flagship New York office.
New business-wise, the U.S. agency landed Chevron Texaco with its Young & Rubicam partners globally and Burger King Corp. for its $350 million global account, following a fierce review. Putting a damper on the victory, however, was the departure of Mr. Dolan, who'd wooed Mr. Patti to the agency. Mr. Dolan, it was widely known, had philosophical management differences with WPP Chief Executive Martin Sorrell. Industry tongues wag about the fast-food account's stability and Mr. Patti's satisfaction.
A client-side executive for her entire career, Ms. Fudge approaches agency operations with a fresh eye, pledging not to duck the thorny issue of procurement and to simplify processes. Expect a new look, positioning for Y&R in early 2004, as well as a "stealth" approach to new business with renewed emphasis on pharmaceutical marketers.