After 50 Years, Grey's Ed Meyer Retires

Led Last Major Madison Avenue Independent Until Sale to WPP

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NEW YORK ( -- Edward H. Meyer, as expected, is calling an end to his 50 years in advertising and three decades at the helm of the Grey Global Group with his retirement effective Jan. 1, 2007. The WPP Group ad company today said James R. Heekin III will be taking Mr. Meyer's place as chairman-CEO. Mr. Meyer turns 80 on Jan. 8.

Ed Meyer is stepping down after 30 years as head of Grey Global.

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Grey Global Group, the last major independent ad company on Madison Avenue, was sold to WPP in March 2004, earning Mr. Meyer some $500 million on the deal, according to Advertising Age estimates. Mr. Heekin was selected as Grey Worldwide's chairman-CEO in September 2005.

Other leadership
Rather than find a replacement to lead Grey Worldwide, Mr. Heekin has restructured senior management and created two vice chairman seats for Joe Celia and Tim Mellors. Mr. Celia will take on the title of vice chairman, Grey Global Group, and will remain chairman-CEO of G2, a unit Grey formed in July that united the company's worldwide direct, branding, design, interactive, promotion, and trade-and-shopper marketing agencies. According to Grey, he will lead the network's "strategic development via acquisitions and joint ventures in emerging markets and new media channels."
Mr. Mellors, meanwhile, becomes vice chairman-chief creative officer, overseeing all creative globally and across all entities within the Grey Global Group. He has been the president-chief creative officer at Grey Worldwide North America since 2004.
James R. Heekin III will succeed Mr. Meyer as chairman-CEO.
James R. Heekin III will succeed Mr. Meyer as chairman-CEO.

"Obviously, [Ed Meyer] has done a marvelous job of building the company and he made the right decision in selling the company to WPP. Having said all that, there's a lot to be done [at Grey] after being run by one person for 30 years," Mr. Heekin told Advertising Age. "It is time to pull the various parts of Grey together and make something very powerful, to take Grey from an account management, advertising-led company to a marketing communications company that puts creativity first."

Martin Sorrell, group chief executive of WPP, in a statement said, "I also want to thank Ed Meyer for the selfless way he has supervised such a smooth succession transition and on his remarkable career as a leader in our industry."
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