Jon Steel turns his giant planning brain to GPY&R

JON STEELAdvertising agency GPY&R is to make a determined effort to lift itself out of the doldrums as its 75th anniversary approaches.  

The agency – which celebrates the milestone next month with a party in Sydney – has signed up one of WPP’s biggest stars, Jon Steel, as vice chairman and chief strategy officer.  

Steel – who revealed last month that he had moved to Perth – is reported in today’s edition of The Australian to have taken on the GPY&R role.

The agency’s Sydney operation has been in decline for four or five years, with Nigel Marsh appointed last year as CEO of Y&R Brands with the tough brief of turning around the portfolio. More recently Russel Howcroft, who had run the agency’s more successful Melbourne operation was given a national role, with Phil McDonald moved from Brisbane to head the Sydney operation.

In its heyday, George Patterson was one of the most successful Australian agencies of all time.

Among his publications, Steel may be best known for Truth, Lies and Advertising, one of the most celebrated books about account planning.

Marsh said of Steel: “He is, without doubt, one of the best strategic brains in the business, and will bring a new level of insight to the GPY&R offering. I’m thrilled he is coming on board.”

Steel added: “In Nigel, Russell and the rest of the management team I see kindred spirits – I respect them professionally, but I also know we’ll have a lot of fun together. And when you’re having fun, it’s much easier to do great work.”


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