Y&R's McLennan Taps Asia Chief Chris Jaques for North America

Gord McLean Shifted to Global Client Services Role

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Y&R Advertising's new CEO, Hamish McLennan, made his first move to shake up the troubled ad network's leadership, bringing in its Asia region chief to run its North American operations.
Chris Jaques comes to New York from Asia to lead Y&R's North American operations.
Chris Jaques comes to New York from Asia to lead Y&R's North American operations.

Changes for McLean
Chris Jaques, CEO of Y&R Asia, will take over for North American boss Gord McLean,52, who will shift into a global client services role. Mr. McLean, a 17-year-veteran of the WPP Group-owned network, was promoted to the North American CEO role in February 2005. He is now a global managing partner charged with developing client strategies for global marketers such as Colgate-Palmolive, Accenture and Campbell Soup Co.

The new team's challenges -- some unique to Y&R and some industry-wide -- will be clear: Help reinvigorate one of Madison Avenue's storied brands, not only by recovering from client defections and management turmoil, but also by modernizing it for the digital age.

Mr. Jaques, quite simply, will be looking at "how we grow the business," said Mr. McLennan in an interview. "He's a brilliant new-business person, he's dynamic and he loves the creative product." Mr. Jaques, 49, has run Y&R Asia, the network's most-awarded region, since 2003

The need for 'one Y&R'
Mr. McLean will be charged with creating a consistent client offering around the globe. "Y&R has great global clients, but we've lost a bit of our impetus over the years," Mr. McLennan said. "We are not fully one Y&R yet around the world. The offering needs to be consistent and it has to incorporate digital and interactive in every office."

The agency has not yet decided on a replacement for Mr. Jaques and is interviewing both internal and external candidates, with a decision expected in the next two months.

Y&R, of course, has been one of ad industry's most closely watched sagas in recent years. In 2003 WPP Chief Executive Martin Sorrell tapped Kraft executive Ann Fudge as CEO of Y&R Brands -- which includes the ad agency, as well as direct marketer Wunderman and PR firm Burson-Marsteller -- to turn around a company that had been hard hit by many senior execs decision to cash out after the firm's 1998 IPO. But the experiment with Ms. Fudge flamed out as the storied agency suffered major account losses, including that of Ford Motor Co.'s Jaguar.

Ms. Fudge eventually ceded control of the ad agency to Mr. McLennan, who was tapped for the job in June following a lengthy search. Ms. Fudge remains chairman-CEO of Y&R Brands.

The changes, all effective immediately, represent Mr. McLennan's first public moves since taking the global spot. A rising star within the network, Mr. McLennan was moved into the global role this summer following a stint as CEO of Y&R Brands Australia/New Zealand.
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