Arun Sudhaman 13 Feb 2018 // 7:45AM GMT
LONDON — PR veteran Michael Frohlich has been named chief executive of Ogilvy in the UK, taking charge of a 1,200 person operation that spans advertising, marketing, CRM and digital.
Frohlich, who joined Ogilvy PR in 2012, will retain his role as CEO of Ogilvy PR EMEA — which is becoming increasingly interwoven into the broader group as part of global CEO John Seifert's 'one Ogilvy' restructuring. He reports to EMEA CEO Paul O'Donnell.
Frohlich's elevation comes after he played a pivotal role leading WPP's successful effort to land BA's global marketing duties, a position that called for him to oversee creative, media, social media and paid search. He fills the role previously held by Annette King, who left for Publicis last year.
He told the Holmes Report that the promotion reflects his ability to lead with agility and win over sceptics, both skills that he feels reflect his roots in public relations.
"One thing is I’m going to do is not focus on the differences between the capabilities but really focus on what unites us and that’s the communications for our clients," said Frohlich. "That’s what we’re all in the business of."
Frohlich also pointed to his experience of running integrated business with advertising agency VCCP while he led former Chime consumer shop Resonate. "It’s not the fact that a PR person is being given that opportunity," he said. "It’s about the commonality that we’ve all got."
While a PR person taking charge of one of the UK's largest advertising shops might result in scepticism among the creative ranks, Frohlich said he was not worried. "Winning over sceptical creatives is just part of the job, for years," he said. "PR is in a strong position but also my track record speaks for itself. Our job, collectively, is to answer our clients needs —my track record of convening teams to be successful is a strong one."
After joining Ogilvy from Chime in 2012, Frohlich became Ogilvy PR's UK CEO, turning around a moribund business and becoming Ogilvy PR EMEA CEO in 2015. He said that the current UK group leadership team will remain in place, although changes may yet be made as the strategy develops.
"Michael is a great example of Ogilvy's next chapter strategy in action," added Seifert. "He is a modern marketer with roots in traditional public relations that has had much success in working across Ogilvy and WPP. Building on all of the UK office's recent wins, I am excited to see what our team will do next under Michael's leadership."