LONDON--Stuart Smith has been named Ogilvy PR’s EMEA CEO, filling a role that has remained vacant for a number of years.

Smith joined Ogilvy earlier this year as global head of corporate. He emphasised that his CEO position was an “interim” one, focusing on building the firm’s staff strength and planning for 2012. The search for a permanent CEO remains underway.

The last formal CEO of Ogilvy PR EMEA was Martin Liptrot, who departed the agency in 2008 after a two-year stint. More recently, former UK MD Ash Coleman-Smith also held an EMEA MD role, before leaving last year.

It is understood that Ogilvy is also searching for specific consumer and corporate managing directors for the region.

“This is the moment for us to invest in the EAME region," said Ogilvy PR global CEO Chris Graves. "We are recruiting top talent in the areas of digital, corporate reputation and consumer marketing across offices. Stuart has already had a big impact since joining us in March and I am grateful to him for agreeing to help me by taking on this position in addition to his already large set of responsibilities.”

Compared to its North American and Asia-Pacific operations, Ogilvy PR’s European presence remains relatively underweighted. The Holmes Report’s Agency Report Card puts this down to two reasons: The firm is not a major force in the UK, and its continental presence includes a mix of wholly-owned, partially-owned and affiliate offices. The situation has been made more complex by relatively high senior-level turnover, particularly in terms of regional leadership based out of London.

Before joining H&K, Smith was UK CEO at Edelman.