Eight days in the past we wrote about “stormy water at Gray” because the WPP-owned company, now a part of AKQA Group, misplaced a raft of senior executives. When one at all times asks: is catastrophe looming or was it deliberate? Or, as is usually the case, parts of each.
Most businesses would have responded and silence and, finally, sulks. Others with ridiculous menaces. AKQA, at all times a category act, stated “honest sufficient” however watch this house.
The house has been stuffed, to an extent at the very least, by the rent of Laura Maness (above) as Gray’s new international CEO. We reported this morning that she’d left Havas, which has taken the slightly weird determination to fold its inventive enterprise into Well being.
Maness says: “As solely the sixth CEO in 105 years, the chance to renew, provoke and develop a legendary and celebrated company like Gray — mixed with the unrivaled calibre of expertise from throughout the globe — is extremely significant. I look ahead to constructing on the sturdy basis of Gray’s storytelling prowess and famously efficient work by fuelling a tradition of creativity, innovation, and steady impression.”
AKQA Group CEO Ajaz Ahmed says: “Laura is entrepreneurial, dynamic and energetic. She unites by constructing group — not hierarchy — inspiring with an enlightened management strategy and a confirmed monitor document. With a concentrate on innovation and as a champion of multidisciplinary options for purchasers, Laura is the best CEO to assist form Gray’s strategic imaginative and prescient and path forward. I’m trying ahead to working in partnership with Laura and the workforce at Gray.”
We’ve commented right here earlier than that it appeared odd for WPP to place AKQA, a world-leading digital company that roams far wider than adverts, along with Gray, a Madison Avenue staple, not often recognized for its creativity. That modified for a number of years with Jim Heekin on the helm, Tor Myhren (now Apple’s inventive supremo), Nils Leonard in London and a raft of succesful executives, one in all whom Chris Hirst has additionally lately left Havas. Would possibly Hirst discover his means again to Gray?
AKQA founder and boss Ahmed is adamant that that one of the simplest ways to protect an company model is to not muddy it in a compelled merger, as a result of the weaker of the 2 simply ebbs away. Gray as a model inside AKQA is way stronger, he thinks.
Maness is an enormous name however Ahmed appears energised by the prospects at Gray. He’s defied the chances efficiently earlier than, most notably by surviving the Sir Martin Sorrell years on the WPP helm in a single piece and with repute intact.