Magazine article ADWEEK

Robertson's Rise a Story of Savvy Courtships: Onetime Outsider Earns Worldwide CEO Job at BBDO

Magazine article ADWEEK

Robertson's Rise a Story of Savvy Courtships: Onetime Outsider Earns Worldwide CEO Job at BBDO

Article excerpt

NEW YORK "This is not your grandfather's BBDO," FedEx advertising director Steve Pacheco said last week, referring to North America CEO Andrew Robertson's ascension to worldwide CEO.

That's precisely one of the reasons why Robertson, 43, is getting the keys to the 113-year-old Omnicom Group shop on June 1. He succeeds Allen Rosenshine, 65, who will remain chairman.

Since he arrived in New York from AMV BBDO London in April 2001 as Rosenshine's heir apparent, Robertson has been developing strong client relationships alongside entrenched account executives. Even more critical at this famously insular agency, he has been able to gain the support of its influential creative stars and foster cooperation within the ranks.

"With guys like Andrew and [BBDO New York CEO] John Osborn in leadership positions, there's a new day dawning at BBDO," said Pacheco. "It has a youthful enthusiasm. They've opened up channels of communication inside the agency. Account-management teams that didn't talk before are now talking. They've knocked down some walls. I feel good about what they can do."

"Andrew was identified four years ago as a potential successor," said Omnicom CEO John Wren. "To be accepted in BBDO in the U.S. and have people want to follow you is no small feat."

Sources said Robertson arrived with air cover from Wren, which gave him time to gain acceptance and be effective at an agency that has traditionally not been kind to strangers.

Robertson, a native of Zimbabwe who grew up in South Africa, was an outsider from the beginning, despite having joined the network six years prior. …

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