Women to Watch 2007

Tamara Ingram

WPP Group

By Published on .

NEXT: Wendy Clark

A billion dollars. If you can put a price tag on what a job is worth to a company, affix that amount to Tamara Ingram's title. Last January, WPP Group named Ms. Ingram president of its Team P&G, with responsibility for $1 billion in business across 40 agencies. She's also group exec VP-executive managing director of Grey Global Group.

Tamara Ingram, president-Team P&G, WPP Group

Ms. Ingram, 46, describes herself as "passionately in love" with Procter & Gamble Co. "I like their human values. They want to make the world a bit better with their products. They are excited by innovation and changing things," Ms. Ingram says in her trademark over-the-top yet sincere style.

It can be difficult to pin down Ms. Ingram, whose love of the business sends her into big-picture monologues. "We have to understand souls and hearts and opportunities for scale," she says. Her recurrent theme is that brands need to be "rounded, purposed and generous" to have true value. Achieving this for P&G across WPP involves a lot of travel, but even more importantly, it means setting up systems and creating the right environments and integrated behavior across the agency network.

"I don't know exactly what someone's doing in Colombia today, but because of the structure, I can know in a sense," Ms. Ingram says. "Today's world is amoebic, biological, organic. It's less about the perfect solution than about constant discovery."

Work she's particularly proud of includes Pringles' "Unsung" competition which tapped unsigned bands and engaged 16- to 24-year-olds who don't shop at supermarkets. Another is Pantene China's "Journey to Shine," which was all about capturing the "good hair day" emotion via a seven-part TV show that wasn't based on competition because of the great sisterhood culture in China.

"Tamara is a totally unique individual who embodies the right kind of modern entrepreneurial spirit," says Martin Sorrell, WPP's chief executive, who knows a thing or two about that spirit. "She is smart, tough and fair, and draws out the very best in people. Her energy and passion are contagious; she gives everyone a strong sense of possibility."

A 20-year relationship with P&G hasn't diminished Ms. Ingram's zest for the package-goods giant or sapped her fantastic energy for life and work in general. Ms. Ingram started in 1985 as a temp at Saatchi & Saatchi.

Outside work, Ms. Ingram is the mother of two teenagers and has a passion for the arts, sitting on the development board at London's Royal Court Theatre.

She even finds time to make her own chutneys, pickles and jams. "I'm constantly picking up ideas," Ms. Ingram says. "Growing, learning and reapplying them."
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