Ogilvy appoints Piyush Pandey as global CCO to replace Tham Khai Meng

Pandey will retain his current responsibilities but will also be tasked with upping the quality of creativity across the network

Ogilvy has appointed Piyush Pandey to the role of global chief creative officer, replacing Tham Khai Meng who was dismissed earlier this year following an internal investigation.

Pandey is chairman of the group's India office and will retain his current responsibilities but will also be tasked with upping the quality of creativity across the wider Ogilvy network.

He will remain based in Mumbai and start in the new role in January.

John Seifert, chief executive, Ogilvy Worldwide said: “We could not be more thrilled that Piyush will be serving as our chief creative officer, worldwide and my creative partner."

He added: "Piyush is a true industry icon who is uniquely suited to lead our global creative efforts. Creativity has and will always be at the heart of the Ogilvy brand and culture. He is the perfect leader to shepherd that legacy as we continue to focus on making brands matter as the leading creative network in the world."

Pandey joined Ogilvy over three decades ago. He's held various positions since the early 80s including creative director at Ogilvy Mumbai and executive chairman for Ogilvy India and South Asia.

The move from Ogilvy to fill its top creative spot follows on from the abrupt departure of longtime creative chief Khai Meng in July. Meng had held the role at the WPP firm since 2009, but he was fired following a two-week investigation following a number of complaints regarding Meng's behavior to the c-suite.

In the summer, Seifert circulated a memo to staff saying the business had decided to "terminate Khai's employment with the company with immediate effect."

"After carefully reviewing the investigation’s findings with several of my partners, we concluded that Khai’s behavior was a clear breach of our company values and code of conduct," he wrote. "This is an important moment to reaffirm that no individual in this company is too senior or too important not to be held accountable for their actions."

Pandey's appointment dovetails with the promotion of Ogilvy USA’s co-chief creative officer Joe Sciarrotta, to the position of deputy chief creative officer worldwide. Leslie Sims will join Ogilvy to lead the USA creative team and fill the space left vacant by co-chief creative officers Sciarrotta and Alfonso Marian, who is returning to Europe.

In the UK, the creative shop is undergoing a period of flux under recently-installed chief executive Michael Frohlich. Ogilvy UK, which employs around 1,000 people in London, offered its entire staff the option of taking a redundancy package last month. It has now revealed that “less than 4%” of its workforce had taken up the offer.

Pandey spoke to The Drum for the December issue if its magazine, saying that regardless of what was happening within the wider WPP network it was important for its leaders to "never [to] forget we are in the creative business where instinct is the most important thing. Otherwise we will all turn into bankers.”

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