McCann Worldgroup creative chairman Rob Reilly is leaving the network to join WPP as global chief creative officer.
McCann chairman and CEO Bill Kolb announced the news to staff in a memo this morning, obtained by Campaign US.
“After seven very successful years at McCann Worldgroup, Rob has decided to move on to the next chapter of his career, unfortunately with a competitor,” Kolb said in a statement. “Rob has helped build an incredible bench of creative leadership across each one of our agency brands and contributed so much to our creative success. I thank him for his countless contributions and wish him all the best in his new role.”
Reilly was behind iconic creative campaigns from McCann such as Fearless Girl, as well as work for clients including Microsoft, Mastercard and Verizon.
At WPP, he will assume a newly created role of global chief creative officer and report directly to CEO Mark Read, as the holding company attempts to revive the success of its creative offering.
Over the past few years, WPP has merged iconic creative agencies with digital and data-driven offerings in the network, starting with VML and Young & Rubicam to create VMLY&R, followed by Wunderman and J. Walter Thompson to create Wunderman Thompson and most recently bringing together Grey and AKQA to create AKQA group.
WPP, where revenue less passthrough costs dropped 7.6% in Q3, has pointed to its legacy creative agencies as the reason for decline.
“Rob is one of the world’s most celebrated creative leaders,” Read said in a statement. “He has been a transformative creative force wherever he has applied his considerable talent, and I know he will have the same impact at WPP. I am delighted that Rob is joining us as we look to make WPP synonymous with the world’s most creative, most effective and most forward-looking work – and at a time when this has never been more important to our clients.”
In addition to driving creativity and nurturing creative talent across the group, Reilly will also drive “inclusion and diversity in creative work and teams” and work with “technology partners to fuel the creativity needed for their platforms,” WPP said in a press release.
Before joining McCann, Reilly was at Crispin Porter + Bogusky for a decade as partner and worldwide CCO.
“Mark’s ambition is to make WPP the most creative company on the planet,” Reilly said in a statement. “For a creative person, that was impossible to resist. He is leading a complete reinvention of WPP and is committed to putting creativity at the center of everything the company does. I look forward to joining the talented team of people at WPP and helping its fantastic agencies continue to build on their success.”