Ogilvy UK executive creative director Charlie Wilson, who has been at the WPP agency virtually man and boy, is leaving to “explore new opportunities”.
Wilson started his career as an art director at the long-gone Tilby & Leeves in 1990, then had spells at Bainsfair Sharkey Trott and Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters.
In 1998, he turned to the “dark art” of direct marketing creative at OgilvyOne and has not looked back since. At the time, the agency had just been rebranded from O&M Direct, and the London creative department was home to the likes of Cordell Burke, Gary Sharpen and “lifer” Rory Sutherland. A year earlier, the man who some regard as the “deity of DM creative”, Steve Harrison, had been promoted to European creative director.
Back then, the DM agency market was booming; WWAV (now Rapp) was the dominant force, with Tequila Payne Stracey (now Designory) not far behind. OgilvyOne was third in the market but all three agencies were looking over their shoulders at the rapid growth of Barraclough Hall Woolston Gray (now Proximity), which had launched in the early Nineties.
Much has changed since then, with most of the other agencies in the market, Joshua, IMP, Claydon Heeley, KLP Euro RSCG, McCann-Erickson Manchester, Rapier, Clarke Hooper and DMB&B Financial, now defunct.
Wilson has seen them all come and go, and over the years he has been creative director, executive creative director, chief creative officer and chairman of OgilvyOne.
He was appointed executive creative director of Ogilvy UK last year, alongside Jules Chalkley, when the WPP agency folded OgilvyOne, Ogilvy & Mather and Ogilvy PR in favour of the pared down moniker.
Chief creative officer Andre Laurentino was appointed above both of them in October 2018. Announcing Wilson’s exit in an email to staff, Laurentino said: “Charlie built his illustrious career and the reputation of OgilvyOne making famous, effective and innovative work for brands big and small, and won many accolades for these campaigns too.
“He has collaborated with many during his time at Ogilvy, from across the network. He made fame and friends, too, one of whom is writing this now. It’s rare to find such a talent and such a gentleman in the same person.”
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