Ogilvy Taps Carla Hendra to Head New Global-Strategy Arm

John Seifert Will Become Responsible for Agency's U.S. and N.Y. Operations

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- More changes are afoot at Ogilvy & Mather as Carla Hendra will relinquish her day-to-day responsibilities as chairman of Ogilvy & Mather, New York, and CEO of Ogilvy North America. The move, effective early next year, puts Ogilvy's U.S. and New York operations under the charge of a single leader -- Ogilvy veteran John Seifert -- for the first time in years.

Carla Hendra
Carla Hendra
Ms. Hendra will lead a new arm of Ogilvy, dubbed "Global Strategy & Innovation Practice," as its global chairman. She will report directly to Ogilvy global CEO Miles Young.

These specialized practices (others launched in the past year include OgilvyEarth, a sustainability practice, and the much talked-about Recession Practice) are part of Mr. Young's plan to transition Ogilvy's business model away from one that's reliant on traditional advertising services to one that also offers marketers business consulting.

In terms of what the move means for Ms. Hendra, industry insiders say a global-strategy role is a far better fit than leading an office. Ms. Hendra, who has been at the forefront of Ogilvy's digital initiatives over the last decade and persuaded former AKQA digital creative Lars Bastholm to defect to her network, sat atop Ogilvy, New York, during one of its most challenging times in recent years, when it struggled with a dry new-business run and rounds of staff layoffs.

In an internal note, Ms. Hendra wrote to staffers that her new job will give her a chance to play "on the global stage, which is my long-held ambition."

For Ogilvy, which is attempting a turnaround of its North American operations, it means the further dismantling of the confusing and ineffective joint-executive positions that existed for so long at the agency.

The responsibility for the shop's about-face now rests squarely on the shoulders of Mr. Seifert, its North American chairman, with some help from another Ogilvy veteran, Steve Hayden. In May Mr. Hayden was made chief creative officer for North America and the New York office, responsible for making the shop creatively competitive in the U.S. again.

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