Ogilvy global strategy chief to depart

Ben Richards is stepping down to start a new venture after a decade with the agency.

Outgoing Ogilvy global chief strategy officer Ben Richards.
Outgoing Ogilvy global chief strategy officer Ben Richards.

Turnover at Ogilvy’s global leadership team continues.

Ben Richards, global chief strategy officer at the agency, is stepping down after more than 11 years to start a new venture, Campaign US has learned.

The news was shared internally with employees on Tuesday in a note from global CEO Andy Main, obtained by Campaign US. Richards confirmed the news as well, but declined to share details about the new venture. Ogilvy is actively looking for a replacement.

“My partners, investors and I are so excited about the new venture,” added Richards.

“Throughout his time at Ogilvy, [Richards] has been a trusted adviser to many of our clients, played a critical role in winning key pieces of business, and helped many grow their careers here,” Main wrote in the memo. “I know you will all join me in thanking Ben for his many contributions to Ogilvy and in rooting for him as he embarks on a new adventure.”

Richards’ departure is the latest global executive change at Ogilvy since Andy Main joined as global CEO last June.

In November, Ogilvy snagged former McCann NY president Devika Bulchandani to be North America CEO and chair of global advertising. In May, the agency poached Leo Burnett creative chief Liz Taylor as its global chief creative officer and elevated Carla De Blois to president of Ogilvy NY, after longtime president Lauren Crampsie departed.

Other executive appointments over the past year include Geometry (now VMLY&R Commerce) finance chief Stacey Ryan Cornelius as global CFO, Edelman vet Julianna Richter as global CEO of PR, Accenture exec Steve Soechtig to lead its experience business.

But other longtime executives have left. Kate Cronin, for example, who was promoted to CEO of Ogilvy Health in October after almost 10 years at the agency, stepped down from her post in June to become chief brand officer at Moderna. Ogilvy U.K. CEO Michael Frohlich left in March to become CEO of Weber Shandwick EMEA.

The turnover at Ogilvy didn’t stop the agency from winning work from several new clients including Zippos, Absolut Vodka, Enterprise Holdings and Pernod Ricard in the past year, as well as several awards, including eight Grand Prix, at Cannes Lions this year. 

Read the entire memo from Main below:

Hi everyone, 

I am writing to share the news that after over a decade with Ogilvy our Global Chief Strategy Officer Ben Richards will be leaving us later this month to launch a new venture. 

Ben joined Ogilvy in 2010 as Global Head of Integrated Strategy before taking on the CSO role. Throughout his time at Ogilvy, he has been a trusted advisor to many of our clients, played a critical role in winning key pieces of business, and helped many grow their careers here.

Ben has also worked under three different Global CEOs to help shape the company’s business strategy. As many will know, most recently he partnered with talent from across the business to develop and launch Thread, a tool that is already enabling our Go-to-Market and Go-to-Client teams to bring more of Ogilvy’s rich capabilities to the table. Ben’s approach exemplifies how I want us to succeed: by blending strategy, creativity, and technology to create impact and growth for us and our clients.

While he will be leaving us this month, he will always be a part of Ogilvy’s extended family. 

The relationships he has developed globally at Ogilvy are indeed lifelong friendships. I want to personally thank Ben for his partnership and support over the past year. I know you will all join me in thanking Ben for his many contributions to Ogilvy and in rooting for him as he embarks on a new adventure.

The strategy community is incredibly vital to our collective success. While we search for a new leader, I am confident our team of 1,500+ strategists will continue to enable us to deliver world-class, insights-driven creative solutions for our clients across all of our businesses.

As always, drop me an email or a note on WhatsApp if you have any questions.

Stay well, 

ANDY MAIN
, Global Chief Executive Officer 

This story first appeared on campaignlive.com. 

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