Grey EMEA boss David Patton is joining sister WPP agency Y&R as global president to help rejuvenate the creative network.
At Grey since 2007, Patton has been EMEA president and chief executive since 2010, overseeing 45 agencies across the region. He was instrumental in turning around Grey’s London office in particular.
In the new role, which he will take up in January, Patton reports to Y&R global chief executive David Sable and will run the network’s ad agency outside the US.
Sable will continue to oversee the ad agency in the US alongside other group agencies, including VML (digital) and Labstore (shopper).
Patton’s first priority is likely to be revitalising the network’s London office, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/ Y&R, which lost Marks & Spencer in August after a 16-year relationship. He is expected to relocate to New York within the next two years, which suggests Patton is being lined up as Sable’s successor.
Sable said: "Our global boutique strategy is driven by the principle that a network’s strength must be rooted in the uniqueness of each local market. Strong local offices resonate globally when they are unified by shared values, technology and tools. In bringing David Patton on board, we assure the strength and integrity of both sides of the equation. And I can think of no-one better than he to lead this charge forward."
He added: "I know that his enormous intellect and instincts make him a valued partner to clients and an inspiration to all who work with him. He knows how to bring the best out of people and his innovative mindset always anticipates what we need to do to meet the challenges our clients will face in the future. He is focused, fearless and passionate."
Patton has experience working both agency and client side. Prior to Grey, he was a senior marketer at Sony, where he bought the iconic "Balls" and "Paint" ads from Fallon. He has also worked at Nintendo.
Patton said: "The Y&R brand is iconic in the industry, and it has continued to build on its legacy, becoming one of the top-ranking creative networks in the world and achieving this standard of excellence with offices from all around the network. I look forward to working closely with David and the regional leaders."
Grey’s global chief executive Jim Heekin said: "It is the second time this year an outstanding Grey alum has been put in a top leadership position at one of WPP's largest advertising agencies," referring to Tamara Ingram, who Patton replaced when he first joined Grey, and who took the helm of J Walter Thompson in March after a few years as a senior exec at WPP.
"Both appointments are a remarkable compliment to Grey's ascendancy and success. They underscore the deep bench of talent our network possesses," Heekin added.