Lars Bastholm Out at Ogilvy After Two Years

Agency Says Chief Digital Creative Officer's Departure Is a 'Mutual Decision'

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Lars Bastholm
Lars Bastholm

Two years after Ogilvy recruited Lars Bastholm from AKQA with much fanfare to serve in a newly created post of chief digital creative officer, he's leaving the shop in what he and the agency are billing as a mutual parting of ways.

Mr. Bastholm joined Ogilvy in 2009 from AKQA, and at the time the move was quite the coup for the WPP shop to attract an awarded creative from a digital background. At the time, Carla Hendra, CEO of Ogilvy North America said: "Lars is the hottest digital creative talent in our industry, and we've been great admirers of his work for many years." He was even promoted last year, with the agency giving him the additional title of chief creative officer of Ogilvy, New York.

In a statement today, however, Ogilvy said that in the end it just wasn't a good fit between the agency and Mr. Bastholm, whose departure date is effective in a few weeks. Ogilvy North American Chairman John Seifert in a statement called it a "mutual decision between Lars, John, and Steve Simpson, chief creative officer for Ogilvy North America."

Mr. Simpson, who before Ogilvy spent time at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, will lead creative in the New York office until a successor is named.

Mr. Bastholm's exit comes after a memo in which he criticized Ogilvy's digital creative efforts became public last fall, but Ogilvy in a letter to staff suggested that didn't play a part in his exit.

"Lars, Steve and I recently sat down and discussed the progress of Ogilvy's strong business recovery, the development of our creative community, the agency's creative product, and our respective leadership roles," Mr. Seifert said. "We agreed that Lars had made significant contributions to accelerating our digital transformation, recruiting sparkling talent, and helping win Ikea, a showcase accomplishment that revitalized our approach to new business and fueled our growth in 2010. However, it was equally clear that Lars' personal passions lean more towards that of an entrepreneur who prefers the reward of 'making work' to leading a large creative organization."

For his part, Mr. Bastholm had this to say: "It's time for me to get out of management and take on a more hands-on entrepreneurial role, which is something that I've been missing for a while. I'm proud of what I've achieved during my time at Ogilvy, and I look forward to seeing exiting and groundbreaking work coming out of Ogilvy in the future."

Before serving as co-chief creative officer at AKQA, Mr. Bastholm ran Grey Interactive in Scandinavia, and spent time at Framfab in Copenhagen, Denmark, as creative director, working on brands like Nike , Lego and Sprite.

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