I have been at Ogilvy since September 1996, and my current position is CEO of Blue Hive, a JV between Ogilvy, Wunderman and Mindshare, created to serve Ford in Europe. In addition, I also have responsibility for Ogilvy’s global Ford business.
Ford is a unique business for several reasons, not least its vast scale. It is a truly integrated account where we are working seamlessly across different products, geographies, disciplines and agencies. To respond to the ever-changing consumer and media landscapes, Ford is increasingly global in its product development, positioning and communications: mobilising our talent to help deliver this "One Ford" vision is both fascinating and rewarding. We can no longer "organise ourselves" around specific communication channels; rather our challenge is to work together to produce media- and discipline-neutral ideas that can help change consumer behaviour – whether that consumer happens to be in Shanghai or Lisbon (or at times both!).
The best part of my job is, without doubt, the opportunity it gives me to work with very talented people who are relentless in their desire to find the "big ideas" that we need. And my role? Simple: Try to create an environment that is condusive to producing these ideas, and then to provide the support and framework to ensure the best get developed. So many things can get in the way of this, but we must spend the majority of our time looking after and nurturing our talent.
My favourite career highlight at Ogilvy was when I was asked to head up the Ford Dealer Business in the UK. This was an incredibly fast-paced business with very tight deadlines and Clients who were notoriously direct in their feedback if not satisfied. The experience taught me a great deal, and I also had enormous fun. Once we had agreed shared objectives with the Dealers (and restructured ourselves in a way that could deliver), we formed a fantastic partnership where teamwork, honesty, hard work and a lot of laughs produced some great results
My favorite David Ogilvy quote is: “Leaders grasp nettles.”