Ogilvy & Mather global CEO Miles Young has just named Chris Graves as the agency's new global CEO of its PR unit. This story in PRWeek has all the details. I think Miles had his tongue in cheek when he made this comment to me:
"[Chris] has a great ability to reframe traditional PR from being legendary lunchtimes to being rich content for clients."
But there is a grain of truth because, to many people outside and even inside the PR industry, 'legendary lunchtimes' are still an integral component of the business process. Chris Graves, who I know reasonably well from my time covering Ogilvy in Asia, is clearly not one of them. Miles' second comment is also worth noting.
"One of [Chris'] roles is to drive global expansion and the is other is to... bring PR into the heart of the 360 offer."
Sensible words. Ogilvy PR is an absolute juggernaut in Asia-Pacific, thanks to some very strong outfits in Japan, China and Australia. It also comfortably ranks as one of the key players in North America. Outside those two regions, however, Miles pointed out that there is plenty of work to do. Graves has the kind of thought leadership credentials that will play well with Western audiences, and his worldview is pretty impeccable. I doubt he will be short of either ideas or, importantly, energy. His arrival in the US next year, means that Ogilvy's global operations are now headed by Asia-Pacific veterans. Young spent a decade heading O&M in Asia before taking on the global role, while the ad agency's global creative chief is Singapore's Tham Khai Meng. With growth slowing down in the US and Europe, these kinds of appointments should become increasingly common, provided agencies have the relevant talent they can call on from emerging markets. Enough analysis. Getting back to the rather more important question of legendary lunchtimes, this story investigates PR's arrival at Cannes - where, hopefully, the recession will be put on hold.