Saatchi & Saatchi Names Justin Billingsley Chief Operating Officer

Leadership Restructuring Continues Under CEO Robert Senior

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Justin Billingsley
Justin Billingsley

Saatchi & Saatchi has tapped Justin Billingsley as worldwide chief operating officer, succeeding Chris Foster, who is moving to parent Publicis Groupe in the newly created role of senior VP-global clients.

This is Mr. Billingsley's second promotion this year. In January, he was moved up to CEO of dynamic markets from European chief operating officer.

The move cements the professional relationship between Mr. Billingsley and Robert Senior, who officially succeeded Kevin Roberts as CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide at the start of the year.

"Justin and I have a great working partnership," said Mr. Senior said in a statement. "It is as simple as this: we both stand in the doorway of the Saatchi & Saatchi network. From there I tend to look outwards, and Justin tends to look inwards. We need to do both in order to lift our game and achieve our purpose."

As brand director at telecommunications company Orange, Mr. Billingsley was a client of Fallon London, where Mr. Senior was a founding partner. Mr. Senior became CEO, Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Saatchi & Saatchi Fallon Group in 2007, and had a hand in persuading Mr. Billingsley to leave Orange and join Saatchi & Saatchi in 2009, when Mr. Billingsley became regional CEO for Saatchi & Saatchi Asia.

"Justin is a proven transformational leader for us, first in China, then in EMEA, and in his new role will focus on improvement in our performance globally," said Mr. Senior.

Before joining Orange, Mr. Billingsley, an Australian by background, also held marketing roles at companies including Unilever, Nokia and Coca-Cola. He will be based in London.

Mr. Billingsley said in a statement, "This role represents an inspirational challenge to wake up to each day. If we are promising our clients and our people that 'Nothing is Impossible,' then what kind of agency does it take to deliver this? We are defining what this means and transforming accordingly."

His appointment follows a series of changes to the global leadership team, including the appointment of David Hackworthy as chief strategy officer and Jeff Geisler as chief marketing officer.

Mr. Foster, Mr. Billingsley's predecessor as Saatchi & Saatchi COO, held that role for only eight months. Before that, he was chairman and regional CEO, Asia Pacific and Greater China from May 2011 until the end of 2014. He was at one time seen as a possible successor to Mr. Roberts in the Saatchi & Saatchi CEO role, now held by Mr. Senior.

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