John Seifert, worldwide chairman and CEO, Ogilvy: Power List 2017

2017 rank: 17

John Seifert, worldwide chairman and CEO, Ogilvy: Power List 2017

If there is one marketing services agency set up to embrace integration and convergence it would be Ogilvy, founded in 1948 by the man known as the father of advertising.

Current worldwide chairman and CEO John Seifert can’t bring back David Ogilvy, but he is reintroducing a founder’s mentality and brand-building culture to the WPP firm, which he reformulated in January by discarding discipline-based units such as Ogilvy PR and Ogilvy & Mather.

Seifert is a longtime convert to PR, having argued 15 years ago it would "drive new-age marketing," but finding it harder to convince clients to buy differently because they kept wanting to separate disciplines.

He now believes the time is right to collapse individual units and go to market with an integrated offer, and when it comes to new-age branding, if you don’t have people at the core who understand those realities best — "the PR people" — then good luck.

Seifert started with the U.S. and will extend the new structure across the world in the next 12 months, aided on the comms side by Stuart Smith, global CEO, PR.

As Seifert tells it, the most progressive companies recognize brands and PR are inseparable — hence his ambitious attempt to transform Ogilvy into an integrated operating company.

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