Legendary Copywriter Steve Hayden Retires at Ogilvy

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WPP's Ogilvy today revealed that Steve Hayden -- the agency's vice chairman who's been at Ogilvy since late 1994 and is probably best known for the "1984" campaign which he created with TBWA's Lee Clow for Apple -- retired just before Christmas.

Before Ogilvy, Mr. Hayden, who got his start in the ad business as a copywriter for General Motors, spent time at TBWA/Chiat/Day and BBDO. At both agencies, he was responsible for creative advertising for Apple. In 1994, he moved to Ogilvy to work with Apple's competitor by leading the agency's all-important IBM account. He has also been behind efforts for a number of other Ogilvy clients such as Motorola, American Express and Cisco.

Below, read the memo that Ogilvy leaders Miles Young and Shelly Lazarus penned about Mr. Hayden, and shared with staff today.

We knew this day would come. We tried not to think about it. And then on December 24, after 18 glorious years leading this agency, creating remarkable work that drove clients' businesses, and mentoring us all, Steve Hayden retired.

Steve's contributions have been enormous. He joined us at a time when we were young in our relationship with IBM. He was a legend when he came (thank you, Steve, for saying yes and coming east in the first place) and went on to do legendary work for IBM. He was central to one of the great brand transformations in history; and he made history for Ogilvy in the process.

But Steve has been about so much more than IBM. He was there in the lead when we won Motorola, SAP, Cisco, UPS, Lenovo, AT&T Wireless. And continued on, leading these businesses, along with so many others. Steve is tireless. He never said "no" when anyone needed help. He dove right in, no matter how much was already on his plate. In this past year, he has been involved with so many clients, we almost forgot about December 24.

Steve is wise and warm and kind. He has spent a career attracting talent and developing talent; and Ogilvy has been the beneficiary.

Steve is humble to a fault. That is why we will find occasions over the coming months to celebrate Steve, to tell him what his presence has meant to this agency, to each of us individually. We are planning an evening during our Board meeting in May in Brazil which will be all about Steve. Between now and then, feel free to tell Steve individually what he has meant to you.

Ogilvy is where we are today because of Steve Hayden. We stand on his shoulders. We can never thank him adequately. But we can acknowledge all he has meant and ensure that every one understands the central role he has played in the history of this agency.

Steve, you are a legend and a wonder. How lucky we are to have had you as our leader all these years.

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