WPP Worldwide Chief Creative Officer John O'Keeffe exits
WPP Worldwide Chief Creative Officer John O'Keeffe has departed the company, CEO Mark Read announced to staff in a memo obtained by Ad Age.
"As you know, under our new strategy we’ve strengthened our agency brands and increased investment in their creative talent," Read said in the memo. "As part of that, we’ve placed greater responsibility for creative standards with the agencies themselves, which is the reason that John will be leaving us. He does so with our very best wishes."
O'Keeffe was a Martin Sorrell hire—the former longtime leader of WPP who stepped down as CEO in 2018 appointed O'Keefee in 2008 to help the holding company garner better recognition for its creativity and effectiveness. O'Keeffe was based in London and previously spent 18 years at Publicis Groupe's BBH, where he was an executive creative director before he left for WPP.
"During his time with us he has helped WPP to win the Cannes Lions creative holding company of the year award no less than seven times, and the Effies on eight occasions," Read said in the memo.
News of O'Keeffe's exit comes two days after Ogilvy Worldwide CEO-Chairman John Seifert announced his impending departure as part of a succession plan helmed by Read. Seifert, who has been with Ogilvy for 41 years, will step down sometime in 2021 when his successor is named.
WPP also just released its first quarter earnings, reporting that overall revenue less-pass-through-costs fell 3.3 percent. As part of its earnings report the holding company said it had recently implemented cost-cutting measures due to the pandemic that include reducing "headcount in certain areas" and "voluntary salary sacrifice and part-time working."