Ogilvy ups Michele Anderson to leading role for US PR amid reorganization

She will work alongside Stuart Smith as the WPP firm restructures into Ogilvy U.S.A.

NEW YORK: As Ogilvy consolidates all of its agencies under one P&L, it named Michele Anderson, previously MD of Ogilvy Public Relations in Chicago, as influencer and PR domain lead in the U.S.

Ogilvy PR global CEO Stuart Smith will serve in the role of global enterprise leader over the next 12 months, and take on "management and transformation" of Ogilvy’s West and Washington, DC, operations, the agency said Thursday.

Smith will continue to serve as a partner to Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide chairman and CEO John Seifert. Smith will continue to be based in New York.

Ogilvy is first rolling out the unified structure under one single brand in the U.S. in April under newly appointed CEO Lou Aversano, previously CEO of Ogilvy & Mather New York. 

Anderson will report to Aversano, while Smith will report to Seifert.

"[Smith] is helping to ensure our influence and PR skills stay at the forefront on behalf of our client portfolio, not only in the U.S. with [Anderson’s] partnership, but equally given our business in Europe, Asia, and Latin America," said Aversano.

He added that Anderson is responsible for establishing and strengthening the firm’s PR and influence expertise in the U.S.

"Yesterday, [Smith] was the leader of PR and influence globally for Ogilvy, for a set of clients and operations," he said. "Today, he is still the lead expert for influence and PR, but his remit has increased exponentially because he has the chance to help all of our clients."

The firm will also name Jennifer Scott, Ogilvy PR’s MD of New York, to a new role in the coming weeks, it said.

As part of the restructuring, Ogilvy is establishing several domains, such as influence and PR, enterprise branding, digital and innovation, customer engagement and commerce, and media and distribution. It is also creating several integrated functions such as finance, talent, business development, and communications that will work across the U.S. business. The Ogilvy PR structure will dissolve, the firm said in a statement.

However, in terms of expertise, the new influence and PR domain does not differ from the former Ogilvy PR structure, Aversano told PRWeek, noting there are no plans for layoffs.

"The overall strategy of going to one brand with one P&L gives more freedom and liberation to the expertise, because we are allowed to focus more on clients and less on the routine, necessary tasks of running an operation," he said. "In centralizing those skills, we give more emphasis and capability to the domains of expertise to do what they do best and deliver value to clients."

Ogilvy said last month that it was placing its global array of brands into a "single, branded, integrated operating company" with Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide chairman and CEO John Seifert at the helm.

The WPP agency has also named Alvaro Cabrera, chief strategy officer for North America for OgilvyOne Worldwide to the role of customer engagement and commerce domain lead; North America content and social president Mark Himmelsbach as digital and innovation domain lead; and Now@Ogilvy CEO Sean Muzzy as media and distribution domain lead.

The firm is also set to name Ogilvy Chicago MD Cathy Francque, IBM global brand services president Todd Krugman, Leopard president and the Lacek Group SVP Stephanie Ricke, and worldwide Ogilvy MD Sandeep Vasudevan to client group lead positions.  

Integrated function leads will include Simone Oppenheimer overseeing business development, Suresh Raj for growth, Jennifer Risi for communications, Jim Woods for finance, and Jean-Rene Zetrenne for talent.

The firm has also appointed Kate Cronin to lead the U.S.A. health and wellness practice, Adam Tucker to head U.S.A enterprise branding domain, Ben Levine as senior adviser for transformation, and Jack Rooney to lead integration for Ogilvy U.S.A.

This story was updated on February 16 to correct that Smith reports to Seifert. The headline was also changed to better reflect the reporting structure. 

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