WPP merges divisions to form Ogilvy Healthworld

NEW YORK/LONDON: Global marcoms group WPP is to merge Ogilvy PR Worldwide and Ogilvy & Mather’s healthcare interests with its healthcare marketing operation Healthworld to create a global powerhouse called Ogilvy Healthworld.

Healthworld’s New York-based chairman and CEO Steve Girgenti will take control of the new operation, with London-based Margot James, who is currently chairman of WPP’s Shire Health Group, becoming regional president of Ogilvy Healthworld Europe.

Other regional appointments are expected to be confirmed shortly, with WPP chiefs planning to complete the restructure and rebrand by the year’s end.

James, who will report to Girgenti, said: ‘Ogilvy’s strength in New York has been consumer advertising. Healthworld brings a strong medical capability that will help the combined operation to develop global business more effectively.’

Healthworld was acquired by UK advertising group Cordiant five years ago. WPP bought Cordiant last year.

Shire Health Group and Ogilvy linked up more than 18 months ago in a partnership arrangement that meant new reporting lines within WPP (PRWeek, 8 November 2002).

Healthworld has offices in west London and Reading, with the former specialising in advertising and the latter handling med ed work.

Ogilvy and Healthworld have worked closely on new business opportunities in the past few months.

James, who founded Shire Health Group forerunner Shire Hall, will continue to spend around ‘two to three days a week’ at the agency, with the rest of her time continuing to be devoted to her bid to win the St Pancras and Holborn seat for the Conservative Party at the next general election.

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