NEW YORK — Ogilvy PR global CEO Stuart Smith (pictured) is to play a more active role running the firm's North American operations, two years after Rob Mathias was promoted to head the region for the WPP PR firm.

Mathias will now focus his "full attention" on revitalising Ogilvy PR's Washington DC operation, the firm's largest office in North America, which he has led since 2002. After the end of some major government contracts in 2013, it is understood that substantial growth has remained elusive at Ogilvy Washington.

That pattern has been a recurring theme for Ogilvy PR 's North American operation, helping to explain Smith's focus on the world's largest PR market since taking on the global CEO role in late 2014.

It is understood that Ogilvy PR North America grew in the low single-digits last year, led by its New York and Chicago offices. That performance counts as an upturn but is still probably not rapid enough to meet Smith's objectives.

"DC has always been the jewel in the crown," Smith told the Holmes Report. "Rob [Mathias] and I feel really strongly that DC needs his full attention. In the meantime I’m going to take up the slack in North America."

Smith added that he will "refocus" the firm's North American practice leadership around their contributions to growth, and will also look to devote more global resources to the region. " I know there’s more organic growth potential in North America," he said.

He also noted that the firm will seek to grow by acquisition too. "We need to get up to industry average growth rates in North America," said Smith. "Acquisitions are definitely on the cards."

In addition, Ogilvy PR Atlanta MD Mickey Nall is leaving after 10 years in the position, ahead of a reorganisation of that operation.