OgilvyOne hands Coombs top role in UK restructure

JoCoombsOgilvyOne is beefing up its UK operation by bringing together its B2B division with three tech firms acquired by WPP in 2013 under a new leadership team, headed by chief executive Jo Coombs.
Coombs, who has been promoted from managing director of the main UK agency, will be supported by creative chairman Charlie Wilson, who has been at the agency since 1998 and chief strategy officer Ann Higgins, who has worked at various OgilvyOne offices since 2001.
Under the new structure, WPP acquisitions social marketing agency Social.lab, marketing automation firm Verticurl, and mobile app developer Bottle Rocket will become part of an expanded UK group, along with Ogilvy Business, which was rebranded from DNX – another acquisition – last year.
Coombs succeeds Sam Williams-Thomas who has been appointed CEO of OgilvyOne Business. Meanwhile Clare Lawson, previously joint managing director of OgilvyOne Business, becomes UK MD across the whole of OgilvyOne.
The move to unify the specialist divisions under one leadership team has been driven by what the agency calls “the customer-first experience that consumers and B2B customers increasingly expect”, as well as OgilvyOne’s vision of how brands will need to engage customers in the future.
Coombs started her career at Brann (now Havas Helia) in 1995 and then had a spell at OgilvyOne before joining Wunderman in 2002. However, she returned to OgilvyOne in 2007 and has been UK managing director since 2012.
She said: “Everyone talks about starting with the customer, but the reality is that a vast proportion of brands still don’t build their campaigns/strategies this way. This is something we are passionate about changing at OgilvyOne.
“I am confident that by unifying our two companies and our new specialists under one team we can harness the best parts of each discipline to create a more powerful and effective offering for clients. Our new structure will help us transform our client’s businesses, delight their customers and help them win – a mantra that we will be embracing ourselves.”
Ogilvy & Mather Group UK chief executive Annette King added: “Jo is the embodiment of the vision for OgilvyOne. Historically OgilvyOne always takes big leaps forward – leading the industry – and this move is no exception.”

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