Ogilvy & Mather has promoted Brian Fetherstonhaugh to global chief talent officer.
Fetherstonhaugh will take on the role while continuing his responsibilities as global leader of Ogilvy’s customer engagement and commerce domain (formerly referred to as OgilvyOne), as well as providing executive leadership for key clients, including Nestlé. Fetherstonhaugh first joined the agency in 1983, worked his way to a role as president of Ogilvy & Mather Canada, moved to New York to lead the agency’s global IBM account in 1997 and then founded served as chairman of Ogilvy’s global brand community in 2002. Before joining the agency, he spent four years as a brand manager for Procter & Gamble Canada.
“I am absolutely thrilled. This expanded role gives me a chance to contribute in a new way to the company I love, in an area I am passionate about, at a moment of true transformation,” Fetherstonhaugh said in a statement. “I see this as the ultimate growth job—for our people, for our clients and for Ogilvy.”
Fetherstonhaugh replaces Ogilvy veteran Scott Murphy in the role, who is parting ways with the agency after over two and half years in the chief talent officer role.
Ogilvy & Mather global CEO John Seifert told Adweek that Murphy “had done a fantastic job building the essential, functional skills that we need to make all this work. While we may add to that global team in some ways over time, what Scott really left us is a really strong, expert team that Brian is really going to be able to tap into and leverage for the benefit of the company as a whole.”
Seifert explained that around 70 percent of Fetherstonhaugh’s focus would be on his new role.
He described the move as part of a larger trend toward “giving senior leadership in this company a broader agenda to help us develop and grow” and “make a bigger contribution to the overall development of the company” by taking on expanded responsibilities.
He pointed to agency veteran and vice chairman Carla Hendra, who launched Ogilvy’s global strategy and innovation consulting arm, as well as championing the agency’s digital transformation initiative, as another example of these expanded responsibilities.
Seifert explained that one of Fetherstonhaugh’s primarily roles would be to “connect the nine-point people plan, which we developed as a worldwide leadership team back in April as a foundation for all the things we wanted to address in the company broadly as it related to people.”
“We have a goal of achieving 50 percent gender equality in leadership ranks globally in less than five years. We want to accelerate the development of our youngest generation talent in the company,” he added.
Fetherstonhaugh’s understanding of the agency’s client-centric approach, as well as “the emerging capabilities creating new competitors” Seifert, explained, made him ideal for the position.
“Brian, because he spent so much of his career on the front line with clients, and was a client at the beginning of his career working for Procter & Gamble, I feel like we have in Brian someone who will diagnose client requirements and client needs really well,” Seifert said. He adding that this, coupled with his “inside understanding of Ogilvy” and ability to “bring in a whole new generation of talent with modern marketing skills” represents “the trifecta of someone who can really help the organization see how we can compete more effectively.”
The promotion comes on the heels of a series of aforementioned changes at Ogilvy & Mather this year. Around a year after taking over for Miles Young as global CEO, Seifert announced a major global restructuring plan in a memo back in January. The following month, Ogilvy USA CEO Lou Aversano named nine new “group leaders” in the U.S., which was in turn followed by a series of promotions in April.