NEW YORK—Stuart Smith has been promoted to global CEO of Ogilvy PR, succeeding Chris Graves who becomes chairman.

Smith, who has overseen a turnaround of Ogilvy PR's EMEA operations over the past three years, takes on the position with immediate effect and will relocate from London to New York in the first quarter of 2015. He retains his position as EMEA CEO.

He takes on a global CEO position that has been occupied by Graves since late 2009. Under Graves, Ogilvy PR has prospered in Asia-Pacific and EMEA, but has faced a more challenging environment in North America.

According to the 2014 World Report, Ogilvy PR's global growth in 2013 was essentially flat, seeing the firm record fee income of around $297m.

It is understood that growth in Asia-Pacific and EMEA was offset by the firm's performance in North America. In particular, Ogilvy PR's key operations in New York and Washington DC have been hampered by senior staff turnover and client budget cuts, respectively.

Smith told the Holmes Report that he will aim to "put a worldwide plan together that drives forward the PR discipline."

"We have to make sure that Europe continues to grow at the rate it has," added Smith. "There’s too much opportunity for one person to do it all. I’m the other person that will try and drive forward everything." 

Graves, meanwhile, will continue to oversee Social@Ogilvy, along with strategic M&A and the firm's behavioural marketing practice.

Smith joined Ogilvy PR from H+K Strategies in 2010, before being handed EMEA CEO duties in 2011. Under his leadership, the firm was named 2014 Pan-EMEA Consultancy of the Year by the Holmes Report, following consecutive years of impressive growth and strong creative performance.

Graves arrived at Ogilvy PR as Asia-Pacific CEO in 2005, after a lengthy career with Dow Jones. He will remain based in Washington DC.