WPP firms merge to form powerhouse

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WPP-owned giants CommonHealth and Ogilvy Healthworld are merging to form a new global powerhouse agency: Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide.

CommonHealth president and CEO Matt Giegerich will lead the new entity as chairman and CEO. Domestic business will be overseen by CommonHealth managing partners Dave Chapman, Michael Parisi and Marc Weiner, while international business will continue to be handled by Ogilvy Healthworld joint-CEO Gloria Gibbons, all reporting to Giegerich. Donna Tuths, Ogilvy's other joint-CEO, left the agency a few months back.

The merger gives CommonHealth a New York base and an extensive global network of 50-plus offices in 32 countries, while Ogilvy gets a stronger foothold in the US market.

The combined group will have just short of 1,200 employees worldwide, with approximately 50% coming from the each agency. Most of the Ogilvy Healthworld staff is based outside of the US, with around 150 in the New York office. There are no plans to cut any staff.

Giegerich will maintain an independent reporting line into WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell, but also have a “dotted-line” into Miles Young, worldwide CEO of The Ogilvy Group.

“It's the best of all worlds,” Giegerich told MM&M. “We get all the wonder and glory and power of the Ogilvy brand around the world, and all the strength that that implies, and we also have the specialty and a reasonable amount of autonomy that is required to do well in the healthcare space.”

In order to manage conflicts within each region, Giegerich said there will eventually be two brand names—Ogilvy Healthworld and Ogilvy CommonHealth.
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