He is the only CEO to have worked with all of Ogilvy’s previous chairmen, including founder David Ogilvy. Now, after 41 years, current CEO John Seifert has announced that he will be retire from the agency in 2021. Under Seifert, Ogilvy underwent a global restructuring and rebranding on its 70th anniversary.
In the agency memo, Seifert, who succeeded Mike Young as global CEO in 2016, said that he and WPP CEO Mark Read agreed earlier this year that this was the right time to search for a successor. Given the time necessary for such a search, Seifert said he will continue to act in the role until the next CEO is selected.
He also notes that he has worked closely with Read on this plan since Read joined WPP as CEO in 2018. “In a moment like this, I am more committed than ever to our people, our clients, and the Ogilvy brand,” Seifert said.
He concluded the memo by calling it “an extraordinary privilege” to serve the agency since first arriving as an intern in 1979, and said, “I love this company with all my heart and will be forever supportive of its success.”
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Here’s the memo in full that Adweek obtained:
STATEMENT FROM JOHN SEIFERT
Chief Executive, Worldwide
The Ogilvy Group
In June I will have served Ogilvy for 41 years, the past five as worldwide CEO.
I have worked closely with Mark Read, Chief Executive of WPP, since his appointment in 2018 on leadership development and succession planning across The Ogilvy Group, and that includes me as well.
Mark and I have each embarked on ambitious journeys of business and brand transformation for the companies we lead, and nothing is more important to both of us than recruiting and developing top talent.
Earlier this year, Mark and I agreed that we should begin the process of searching for my eventual successor, knowing that this process takes time and thoughtful engagement with potential candidates internally and externally.
In a moment like this, I am more committed than ever to our people, our clients, and the Ogilvy brand. I will continue to lead Ogilvy with all my strength until a successor is appointed and a leadership transition is completed sometime in 2021.
It’s been an extraordinary privilege to serve Ogilvy since joining the company as a summer intern in 1979. I love this company with all my heart and will be forever supportive of its success.