Stuart Smith to Succeed Chris Graves as CEO of Ogilvy PR

Smith Had Been CEO for Europe, Africa and the Middle East

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Stuart Smith
Stuart Smith

WPP's Ogilvy PR has promoted Stuart Smith, its CEO for Europe, Africa and the Middle East, to global CEO. He succeeds Chris Graves, who is moving into a newly created chairman role.

"This is about not missing opportunities and focusing more on content where it meets social, where it meets mobile and where it meets big data," Mr. Graves said.

Mr. Graves had been global CEO since 2009 and previously ran Ogilvy PR's Asia Pacific region. He joined the PR agency in 2005 after a long career on the media side of the business, where he most recently served as managing director at Dow Jones.

Before Mr. Smith joined Ogilvy in 2011, he held various senior roles at PR giants Hill & Knowlton, Edelman and, earlier in his career, Burson-Marsteller. He holds a doctoral research degree from Oxford's Christ Church in Environmental Chemistry. As he assumes the new role, Mr. Stuart will move to New York from his home in London.

The agency once wasn't on the radar for many European clients, Mr. Graves said. Now, London is the largest office in Europe and Ogilvy is gaining market share in the other regions where Mr. Stuart had oversight, he said.

The global PR shop completed 2013 with $296 million in revenue, up slightly from $288 million in 2012, according to the Ad Age DataCenter. Ogilvy & Mather, including revenue from the PR division and various other agency groups, achieved $2.3 billion in revenue last year.

Christopher Graves
Christopher Graves

Mr. Smith will focus on growth in the global operations, as well as heightened integration with other Ogilvy network shops and the addition of creative and content resources, he said.

"Creativity will be a really important thing for next couple of years," he said. "I've been borrowing lessons from the way we integrate closely in [Asia Pacific]."

Mr. Smith said he will also pay close attention to specific regions that need extra care, such as D.C., where a hefty business got hit hard when the sequester froze and slowed the flow of government agencies' budgets early last year. The goal in that market is continued diversification beyond government clients, said Mr. Graves.

D.C.-based Robert Mathias, who rose to North America CEO early last year, will continue in his role.

Mr. Graves will continue to oversee behavioral sciences efforts for Ogilvy PR. He'll also continue to serve as senior client counsel, as well as oversee content and social initiatives and leadership.

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