Maisie McCabe
Jan 11, 2022

BBH appoints new global creative chief as Joakim Borgström departs

Former Singapore-based chief creative officer will "explore new possibilities" as mantle passes to Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO creative Alex Grieve.

Joakim Borgström (left) is replaced by Alex Grieve (right)
Joakim Borgström (left) is replaced by Alex Grieve (right)

Bartle Bogle Hegarty has appointed Alex Grieve, the chief creative officer at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, as its global and UK chief creative officer, replacing Joakim Borgström.

In his new role, Grieve will lead the creative direction and product of the Publicis Groupe-owned boutique network, which has offices in Los Angeles, London, New York, Stockholm, Mumbai, Singapore and Shanghai.

At AMV, Grieve is being succeeded by Nadja Lossgott and Nicholas Hulley, who become joint CCOs.

When Grieve starts his new job in April, Rafael Rizuto, CCO at BBH USA, Sascha Kuntze, CCO at BBH Singapore, Kelly Pon, CCO at BBH China, Russell Barrett, CCO at BBH India, and Patrik Danielsson, the chief experience officer at BBH Stockholm will report to him, as will Helen Rhodes, the executive creative director at BBH London.

Grieve will also co-chair BBH's global board alongside the chief executive of Publicis Groupe UK, Annette King. Publicis Groupe set up a global board to run BBH last year, ahead of the departure of global chief executive Neil Munn. He will report to King and work alongside Karen Martin, the chief executive of BBH London and a member of network's global board.

AMV BBDO has performed extremely well creatively under Grieve's direction. Cannes Lions named the shop Agency of the Year last year after a string of awards, and Campaign placed him as its number one Creative Leader in its 2021 lists.

Grieve's own creative highlights at AMV include "Mog's Christmas calamity", Sainsbury's Christmas ad in 2015; the 2019 Guinness "Liberty fields" campaign featuring Japan's first female rugby squad; Bodyform's "Viva la vulva", and Currys PC World "Jigsaw" starring Jeff Goldblum. 

After joining AMV BBDO as a creative partner in 2011, Grieve rose to executive creative director in 2013 alongside his then partner Adrian Rossi. He remained at the agency after Rossi exited to join WPP's Grey London in 2018 and the Omnicom agency promoted him to chief creative officer in August 2019 as long-time creative chief Paul Brazier departed.

King said: "BBH is an exceptional agency with an illustrious history and a shining future. Alex is one of the world's most acclaimed and admired creatives and a forward-thinking leader who exudes humanity and warmth.

"Alex will work closely with the country leaders and creative departments to deliver world-class, transformative creativity for our clients."

In his first stint at BBH between 1996 and 2010, Grieve created work including "heroin baby" for the children's charity Barnardo's; Lynx "billions"; Audi "fish"; and the "lost lives" campaign for St John Ambulance.

Grieve said: "Being asked to return to BBH was an opportunity I couldn't turn down. To be able to pass on what I have learnt from the agency that taught me my craft is interesting. To work with talented and kind people is interesting.

"To be entrusted with a creative jewel and see if, together, we can make it sparkle even more brightly is interesting. And as [Sir] John Hegarty famously said, 'do interesting things and interesting things will happen'."

Grieve is the fourth global BBH creative leader since Hegarty passed on the mantle after selling the rest of the agency to Publicis Groupe in 2012Borgström replaced Pelle Sjoenell, who had led the network's creative since 2016, in 2019. Alexandre Gama, the founder of Brazilian agency Neogama, held the role between 2012 and 2016.

Borgström departs after more than seven years with the agency, first in London as a creative director, and in Singapore for four years where he rose to become global CCO. He returned to the UK in June 2021 to take up the London CCO role alongside his global remit as Stephen de Wolf left the agency

Borgström said: "It has been the biggest honour to carry the 'black sheep' flag for the last few years. I've worked with so many brilliant, talented people who have amazed me every single day, and I'm so proud of what we have achieved together.

"But change is good. I'm excited to try different things and explore new possibilities. This is BBH's 40th year, and it feels like a good time for me to move on as the agency enters this next chapter. It will be a new and exciting one under Alex."

Borgström does not currently have a job to go to.

Campaign UK

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