Dentsu Aegis Network has appointed Euan Jarvie, the president of global clients, to be UK and Ireland chief executive.
Scottish-born Jarvie, 51, is a media agency veteran who brings both international and UK experience to the job after four years at Dentsu Aegis Network and 18 years at MediaCom.
Jarvie will report to and work closely alongside Nick Waters, the recently appointed executive chairman of UK and Ireland.
Both Jarvie and Waters acknowledged that Dentsu Aegis Network needs to raise its game in the region, its second-biggest market after the US, as it has suffered from management upheaval and client losses.
The group, which owns agencies including Carat, Vizeum, Merkle and iProspect, and employs 4,500 people, has had no UK and Ireland chief executive since Tracy de Groose stepped down in autumn 2017.
Dentsu Aegis Network filled that gap by appointing Stef Calcraft, a co-founder of Mother, as executive chairman.
Jarvie said he was “delighted to return to a UK-centric role”, saying: “I’m coming home.”
He admitted that it would be an adjustment to return to the UK market after a decade in international roles, but said he would draw on his past experience.
Jarvie founded MediaCom Scotland and Ireland, before going on to be chief commercial officer and chief client officer in the US and chief operating officer of EMEA at the WPP agency.
He started at MediaCom in 1997, when it was an independent agency known as The Media Business.
His experience of the UK regions is likely to be useful because Dentsu Aegis Network has a large operation in the north of England and Scotland as Dentsu Aegis Network North.
Jarvie said: “Having a global view and a domestic view is a good idea. Very few clients are just global or just domestic these days.
“Success for me is grounded in a culture of trust and bravery where everyone understands how their contribution is helping deliver growth for our clients.
“I believe it is the most exciting time ever in the industry, with many organisations looking to transform and find new growth.”
The group has done better globally, retaining Microsoft, winning Intel and expanding its brief for Procter & Gamble in the US.
Asked what Dentsu Aegis Network could do better in the UK and Ireland, Waters said: “My observation is the sum of parts are not adding up to the greater whole. I think we can bring the diversity of skills and capabilities closer together – it’s an area of focus we need to look at.”
Jarvie added: “You ask any agency CEO in the land and there’s always things that you could do better.”
He highlighted the need to retain clients, as well as win clients, and to better organise data to turn it into “knowledge” that is “actionable”.
Giulio Malegori, chief executive of Dentsu Aegis Network EMEA, said Waters and Jarvie are “a game-changing leadership team”, pointing to their joint “experience of running large-scale, complex regions”, “a strong track record of working on some of the world’s most well-known brands” and “specialist expertise in media”.
Jarvie and Waters have worked together previously at Ogilvy & Mather in the early days of their careers. “We’ve known each other for 25 years,” Jarvie said. “There’ll be a proper partnership.”
Waters, who is English, has spent the past eight years running Dentsu Aegis Network in Asia-Pacific.
He said he had encountered “less of a fear of failure” and more of a “test-and-learn attitude” in Asia and hopes to bring that sensibility to the UK and Ireland.
The UK changes at Denstu Aegis Network come as Tim Andree, the global executive chairman, takes greater control.
He added the chief executive’s role in January following Jerry Buhlmann’s decision to step down.