Ogilvy names new creative leadership

As its restructuring begins to take shape, the agency brings on Brian Murray to be its new CCO in Canada.

As it continues to reveal what its “Next Chapter” strategy will look like locally, Ogilvy Canada has hired Brian Murray as chief creative officer.

Murray most recently led the creative offering at Doug & Partners (previously DS+P), having joined as creative director in 2015. Prior to that, Murray has also been at Cundari, Publicis, FCB and Lowe Roche.

Murray takes over a role previously held by Ian MacKellar, who left Ogilvy to join JWT New York as ECD at the beginning of the year. But due to the agency’s recent global restructuring, the CCO position Murray is taking is slightly different. It’s the first time one person will have creative oversight across all channels and disciplines.

(Alex Furrer, CCO of OgilvyOne in Canada, however, remains with that consumer engagement agency and continues to manage creative for her portfolio of clients.)

Laurie Young, Ogilvy Canada’s CEO, said the agency’s worldwide CCO Tham Khai Meng interviewed a few candidates at her behest. “He told me Brian has the sparkle and intelligence to help continue to raise our creative profile, and that’s an opinion I value greatly,” she said.

The restructuring, announced in January, was positioned as a way to focus less on disciplines and sub-brands and more on clients and specialty expertise by bringing all of Ogilvy together under a single P&L. Murray’s hiring is the first step in Ogilvy’s “Next Chapter” strategy in Canada, which is led by Young and will see a number of new leadership appointments in key areas of expertise made in the weeks and months ahead.

Young was not yet able to disclose which area those appointments would be in, but did say Ogilvy has been making more investments in strategy and customer engagement. While Young, previously managing director at Ogilvy, stepped into the CEO role at the beginning of the year, previous OgilvyOne managing director Guy Stevenson was also moved into a new role of chief customer engagement officer, leading the strategy and customer engagement group, which now has eight staff in Toronto.

Young says Ogilvy has restructured all facets of its production department, and the creative and account groups from both Ogilvy and OgilvyOne have been formally merged and are currently working together.

“It gives our clients access to a greater depth of talent,” she says. “Internally, this has also been one of the best amalgamations out of any of the others I’ve been a part of. Everyone is seeing the opportunity to work on a greater variety of clients and different kinds of challenges.”

The global roll-out of Ogilvy’s “Next Chapter” strategy will begin in April. While the restructuring in the U.S. is being used as the blueprint for other large markets, Canada’s restructuring has been the guide for agency offices in smaller markets.

“As an organization, from a reporting flexibility and resource allocation perspective, being under one P&L makes it so much easier,” Young says. “It also reduces the amount of time we spend talking about P&Ls, which is great.”