It's a surprising move for the highly-awarded Belgian creative, considering he's balked at global posts in the past. When he joined Goodby in 2009, a move that made him a creative director at the San Francisco-based shop after having led his own agency at TBWA in Paris, he explained to Creativity that he wasn't interested in the demands or politics that go with a worldwide-creative role. Said Mr. Vervroegen: "I've been offered prestigious jobs such as worldwide creative director, etc., but I don't want to turn into a politician, stuck in meetings, first-class lounges or fancy hotels. I want to stay close to my boys and be on the battlefield with them. I will always be a sergeant, not a general."
It appears he's going to have to be a bit of a general now.
According to a statement from the company, Mr. Vervroegen's charge will be to "strengthen the creative ambitions" of the third largest holding company in the world, along with the other creatives across Publicis Worldwide agencies, including Olivier Altmann, Craig Davis and Kevin Roddy, who have all been appointed to a newly-created creative board by Jean-Yves Naouri, executive chairman at Publicis Worldwide. "Erik's arrival is a strong signal of our desire to bring the best talent on board and work collaboratively together with the common goal of making Publicis Worldwide one of the most creative networks in the word," Mr. Naouri said in a statement. The chair of this new board will be Arthur Sadoun, managing director at Publicis.
It's unclear how much Mr. Vervroegen's title and responsibilities as international creative director overlap with those of Mr. Altmann, who's been worldwide chief creative officer at Publicis since late 2009. The only discernable difference so far is that Mr. Vervroegen has been specifically been tasked with leading the global Ray-Ban account.
Mr. Vervroegen -- and avid motorcyclist who calls Y&R top creative Tony Granger his mentor -- got his start in adland in Belgium before moving to TBWA Hunt Lascaris in South Africa. He had a stint at Bozell, New York, and then went on to TBWA Paris where he rose to lead the agency as its president and executive creative director and helped it win some 70 Cannes Lions before moving to Goodby.