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Grey Global names Heekin as Meyer's successor

LONDON - WPP's Grey Global Group has confirmed James Heekin will succeed Ed Meyer as he prepares to bow out as chairman and chief executive. Heekin will be at the helm of Grey from January 1, as the company enters its 90th year in the business.

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Heekin is already chairman and chief executive of Grey Worldwide, a role he has held since September 2005, and will continue in this role.

Heekin said: "Taking the reins of Grey Global Group is a highpoint in my professional life and I am extremely enthused about our future."

Heekin has already appointed a new management structure for the group. Joe Celia will become vice-chairman and will oversee network strategic development via acquisitions and joint ventures in emerging marketing and new media channels. He will continue in his role as chairman and chief executive of G2, Grey's global network of specialised communications companies.

Tim Mellors, who came out of retirement two-and-a-half years ago to become chief creative officer of Grey Worldwide North America, will also become vice-chairman and chief creative officer. He will be responsible for Grey's creative product globally and across all business lines.

Heekin said: "Both Joe and Tim will be terrific partners to me. They share the vast sense of potential that I believe lies at the heart of Grey."

Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of Grey parent company WPP Group, said: "Jim Heekin will be focusing on raising Grey's creative standards even further with the help of Tim Mellors on its integrated offer, particularly in the area of internet, interactive and digital with Joe Celia. I also want to thank Ed Meyer for the selfless way he has supervised such a smooth transition and on his remarkable career as a leader in our industry."

The group senior management has issued a blueprint for the "new" Grey, based on 2006's achievements, which the new senior management team is keen to capitalise on.

In 2006, Grey committed itself to best-in-class creativity and has doubled its total creative award performance for the last two years. It has won: 10 Cannes Lions; Agency of the Year at the European Effies; Addy Best of Show for Nokia; a Clio for Frontier Airlines; an Emmy for Dairy Queen in North America; and has moved up four places in the Gunn Report.

Grey grew business of 18 out of its 20 global clients and received new assignments from Procter & Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline, Nokia and Volkswagen around the world.

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