”I am writing this a little sooner than planned because, unfortunately, the news below has leaked in the U.K. press today. I thought it important to update you immediately on a great addition to our team.
I am sure we all believe that best-in-class strategy and planning are essential for our success looking forward. In welcoming our new global Chief Strategy Officer Nigel Jones to the team, I believe our global planning capabilities – which are strong in some markets but need to be more consistent in several others – will make a significant leap forward.
Nigel is one of the smartest people with whom I have ever worked – and in the strategy and planning arena, he is an absolute standout with a humbling track record. He is a quite exceptional, curious, thoughtful and determined person, one who always brings some unique perspective to any conversation. I know that he is going to make an immediate impact on our clients and our culture here.
So you can understand him better, I would like to share a few things that show the many dimensions of Nigel Jones:
- Nigel was a semi-professional chess player through his time at Oxford University. He only gave it up when he realised that he would never quite make it to becoming a grand master. He will bring this same intelligent, thought-through approach to any business and brand problem that clients bring to us.
- Nigel ran BMP DDB’s Planning capability during the period when that agency helped redefine brand planning for our industry. To give some perspective to the quality of his department back then, several top CSOs in the U.S. and Europe today worked with and for Nigel.
- During his time in charge of Planning, BMP DDB was Campaign magazine’s “Agency of the Year” three times; it won four times as many IPA Effectiveness Awards as any other agency; it pioneered the introduction of econometrics and the numerical measurement of advertising effectiveness; and it introduced an observational research function – using state-of-the-art digital video techniques to record and then analyse actual consumer behaviour (as opposed to attitudes and claimed behaviour).
- Nigel started a music blog called “A barrel of nails.” This site now has a cult following worldwide and Nigel has become a regular on festival stages at the invitation of avid fans. (Please do not pester him for tickets – I got there first.) We often talk of the importance of music for brands and creative work, and now we have another aficionado in our midst.
Nigel’s full bio will be on our website soon, where you will also see that over his career he has had an absurdly strong new business track record, and extensive management experience as the CEO of three different agencies. Nigel briefly ran Draftfcb in the U.K. before being poached by Publicis, so he is actually a returning member of the Draftfcb team.
I hope that many of you have a chance to welcome Nigel in person soon. I feel very fortunate to have him as one of my key partners on the global leadership team moving forward.We are also fortunate to have another well-respected and talented agency veteran like Vita Harris taking on a new role at the agency. As EVP, Strategic Planning, she will work on key global initiatives spanning research and planning to get to better, more insightful work, reporting into Nigel.
Vita has made significant contributions to our global network, especially in recent years. She is not just respected for her great thinking and the results she produces but also, as I have heard from many sources, because of her passion for our business and her integrity that run deep. Whilst remaining a key partner on our global leadership team, Vita and I are also exploring an exciting new initiative that would take advantage of her many talents…but we will save that news for another note!
Best as ever,