WPP names Ogilvy PR CEO to lead the Ogilvy Group in the UK

Michael Frohlich, new Ogilvy London CEO

Ogilvy PR CEO EMEA, Michael Frohlich, has been promoted to group CEO, replacing Annette King, who left last year after 18 years to become CEO of Publicis UK.

Frohlich, who has been with the WPP-owned Ogilvy for over six years, was leading Ogilvy PR across the EMEA region for the business. Most recently he’s been at the helm of the fully-integrated WPP British Airways (IAG) team — comprising advertising, media, digital, social and loyalty, housed within Ogilvy’s Sea Container offices and across eight markets. It was a pitch he led and helped win for WPP, designing and leading the bespoke integrated team solution for the client.

In an exclusive interview with The Drum, Frohlich said he arrives with a “mandate for change across the whole business.” Under his leadership, the UK Group will move towards the One Ogilvy model, first announced last year by Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide CEO John Seifert, when it was initially rolled out in the US. The new operating model will bring all the different business units under one P&L.

“One holistic business will mean a new way of working. But we need to start with a new mindset and change ourbehaviours to truly provide an integrated business for our clients’ needs,” he added.

There is currently no timeline on this transition and more details will follow later in the year.

In his new role, Frohlich will report to CEO & Chairman of Ogilvy Europe, Middle East & Africa, Paul O’Donnell.

“Michael’s appointment to CEO is testament to his impressive track record at Ogilvy, both most recently in leading WPP Team IAG, and his enormous success over the past seven years in significantly growing the Ogilvy PR business throughout the UK & EMEA. I have no doubt Michael will take on the position with the same determination, aptitude and good humour that has been characteristic of his time at Ogilvy so far,” said O’Donnell.

The past 18 months have seen Ogilvy’s client list grow substantially employing “WPP-wide horizontality”, with the agency winning British Airways (IAG), Walgreens Boots Alliance, and Vodafone.

Of his “surprise” appointment, Frohlich said: “From the PR industry, I hope people won’t say ‘Michael who?’ but when it comes to advertising and the general marketing services, that perhaps might be the response. But that would be a very old fashioned way of looking at things. My track record speaks for itself. In the communications industry, it is all about brilliant ideas and work that affect our clients’ business in a positive way, and for me that has always been the starting point.”

He pointed to his successes in both steering Ogilvy’s PR capability to immense growth at a UK and EMEA level, as well as his work to bring together a fully integrated, bespoke WPP solution for British Airways and IAG. His PR and political pedigree ( Frohlich has served as Mikhail Gorbachev’s media advisor) means that he truly understands his clients' challenges and opportunities and their business needs. “It is not about providing an advertising or a PR solution, but the best approach needed to drive the business forward.”

Since joining Ogilvy in 2012, Michael has led the successful transformation of Ogilvy PR in the UK and then across EMEA. Under his stewardship, the network won awards including: EMEA Sabre Campaign of the Year, Cannes Lions, Holmes UK Agency of the Year and EMEA Consultancy of the Year, PRCAs Large Consultancy of the Year two years in a row. Michael was named PRCAs Consultancy Head of the Year.

Michael’s earlier career saw him join Bell Pottinger and then Shine Communications. In 2003, he founded Resonate, a consumer consultancy which became the Consumer Division of Bell Pottinger in 2007. He worked across Chime Plc. companies (including VCCP and Good Relations) until joining Ogilvy.

An in-depth profile piece on Michael Frohlich to follow.

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