Andy Main to leave Ogilvy as Devika Bulchandani takes over as global CEO

Main joined Ogilvy from Deloitte Digital in 2020 and oversaw a transformation of the network; longtime McCann vet Bulchandani steps into his shoes.

Headshots of Devika Bulchandani, global CEO, Ogilvy; Andy Main, former global CEO, Ogilvy.
L-R: Devika Bulchandani, global CEO, Ogilvy; Andy Main, former global CEO, Ogilvy.

NEW YORK: Global CEO Andy Main will leave Ogilvy, and Devika Bulchandani, global president and CEO of Ogilvy North America, will step into his role, the agency said on Wednesday.

Main will stay on as a senior adviser to the business through the end of the year. 

A spokesperson from Ogilvy declined to share details on why Main is stepping down and what his next move will be. 

In a press statement, Mark Read, CEO of parent company WPP, said: “With the agency’s transformation a year ahead of the schedule we originally envisioned, Andy has decided that now is the right time to seek a new challenge and he is moving on with my personal thanks and best wishes.”

Main joined Ogilvy in June 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, from Deloitte Digital, where he was global CEO. He was at Deloitte for more than two decades prior to taking the top job at Ogilvy and is credited with pushing Deloitte Digital into the agency space with creative agency acquisitions such as Heat and Acne.

He took the reins of the network from John Seifert, who had been with Ogilvy since 1979. 

Main reorganized Ogilvy with a focus on modernizing its capabilities with technology at the core. He began to reverse a strategy put in place by Seifert to consolidate all of the network’s agencies under a single P&L, breaking the group into five units — creative, consulting, health, experience and PR — each with their own leadership. Julianna Richter is CEO of Ogilvy PR.

Under Main, Ogilvy won new business with clients including Absolut, Enterprise Holdings, World of Hyatt, TD Bank, FEMA, New York Philharmonic and Audi of America, and it played a role in WPP’s global win of Coca-Cola’s $4 billion account. 

Main also attracted new talent to the network, including Bulchandani, who he poached after more than 20 years at rival network McCann. He brought on executives including Liz Taylor, global chief creative officer; Steve Soechtig, global CEO of Ogilvy’s experience practice; and Mick McCabe, global chief strategy officer. 

Main said in a press statement: “When I joined Ogilvy, my goal was to build on the company’s incredible heritage, raise its ambitions and deliver growth for our clients through work that has impact. Our progress is a testament to all the talented people across the network and our amazing clients for whom I have the deepest gratitude and respect.” 

Read said: “Over the last two years, under Andy’s leadership, Ogilvy has seen a transformation in its creative and business performance. This stems from the consistently outstanding quality of work from Ogilvy’s teams around the world, the investment in attracting and developing talent across the business, and the strong and more diverse leadership team Andy has built.” 

Bulchandani joined Ogilvy in November 2020, shortly after Main took over as global CEO. She jumped over after more than 20 years at McCann, where she was president of the North America business and was responsible for spearheading iconic campaigns such as Mastercard’s Priceless. 

Shortly after joining as CEO of Ogilvy North America and global chair of advertising, Bulchandani was promoted to global president of the network while continuing to oversee the North America business. 

In the new role, Bulchandani will oversee the creative network’s business across 131 offices and 93 countries, spanning advertising, PR, experience, consulting and health. She will also join WPP’s executive committee and continue to oversee the North America business until a new CEO is identified, according to a spokesperson.

She said: “David Ogilvy changed the industry 74 years ago when he founded this iconic agency. As we write the next chapter in the history books of Ogilvy, we will do it together with our clients, using creativity to push the boundaries of what’s possible. I am honored and humbled to take on this role, and to do it with all our incredibly talented people all over the world.”

Main added: “David Ogilvy spoke about the importance of hiring giants and Devika is truly one of the giants in the industry. It has been an honor being a part of this company’s rich history and I know Devika will continue accelerating the momentum our team has built.”

Read said: “Devika is a champion of creativity who brings passion, purpose and an uncompromising focus on generating impact to everything she does. In partnership with Andy and Liz Taylor, she has been instrumental in Ogilvy’s recent growth and development. Her love for our industry, deep understanding of clients’ needs and track record of delivering growth for agencies and brands make her the perfect choice to lead Ogilvy to even greater success.”

This story first appeared on campaignlive.com.


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