In joining Grey New York as chief creative officer, Andreas Dahlqvist takes the reins of a storied New York agency that was among those creating what we later called the advertising age in 1917. Grey of course was there as what I’ll call the Mad Men Age hit its pace in the 1960s. It was a classic New York agency of what some call advertising’s Golden Age.
Dahlqvist will head up the 500-plus Grey NY creative department, working closely with Tor Myhren, Grey’s worldwide CCO, and Michael Houston, CEO of Grey North America, according to a press release.
The shop is on a roll, winning Ad Age’s 2014 Agency of the Year for the second year in a row. Specs for making that win, according to Ad Age, include a client retention rate of 95%, a revenue bump of 18.4% and its tally of winning 20 out of 22 pitches to major agencies.
That sort of spark was key to its purchase by WPP Group, which became the largest combined ad agency company in the world; WPP Group outbid companies such as Havas in its September 2014 purchase.
Grey was the last independent agency company of substantial size, according to a New York Times article on the purchase with top clients including Diageo and GlaxoSmithKline. The Times also quoted analysts that the company would be ripe for cost cutting to further improve its profit margins.
Dahlqvist most recently served as president of the McCann Creative Leadership Council and CCO at Commonwealth/McCann, the global business unit built for General Motors. He joined McCann New York in 2011 as vice chairman, executive creative director, leading the agency to its most awarded year ever, and went on to become deputy chief creative officer for global brands. Earlier he founded DDB in Sweden and the Nordics in 2004.