TBWA set for regional restructure to move away from ‘traditional models’

Ruhanen_TroyTBWA is set to shake up its regional structures in the coming weeks, the network’s president and CEO Troy Ruhanen has told Mumbrella.

In an exclusive interview during a trip to his native Australia nine months after taking on the top job Ruhanen also reiterated his desire to renew the agency’s ‘disruption’ mantra, and put more creative people into leadership roles.

“We have some structural changes in the next few weeks about not doing the business in the traditional regional structure it has always been, but looking at different ways to break down the regions,” he said.

“Multinational clients aren’t in the same markets that they used to be, they’re much more hub like. There’s no point to having the same old model.”

The changes will follow on from Ruhanen moving creatives into leadership roles, appointing a the network’s global creative president Rob Schwartz as the CEO of the New York office, with a similar appointment set to happen in China in the coming weeks.

When pushed on what specifically this would mean for the Asia-Pacific region Ruhanen was tight-lipped, saying the announcement would be made in due course.

“You’re seeing a stance that I have which is I really do believe we’re a creative company and creative people can lead companies because clients want people who can solve problems and exercise opportunities,” he said.

“They want to see that we stand behind our product and what we’re about and that I’m perfectly comfortable having creative people who are really good practitioners who are able to lead a culture and a company.”

The changes tie into Ruhanen’s desire to revitalise the agency’s “disruption” stance, with the network examining its processes, tools and how the agency works on a daily basis in order for the “disruption” positioning to be a mindset and way of operating every day of the year.

“We’ve been road-showing that out to specific clients, both existing and new. We’ve had three clients we’ve been working with on how we’re evolving it and then we’ve shown it to a few new ones now and the feedback we’ve gotten is phenomenal,” he said.

“We do feel this is a step-change in terms of the ways of which we operate. A lot of that is driven by the fact that I really believe deep down inside that what we have to win is the knowledge game in order to sustain ourselves as a great creative organisation.

“The way we in which we are gathering intelligence then utilising that intelligence on a daily basis is what is informing us to be better and its turning that into different forms of creative for us.”

“It’s been a key thing, we’re rolling it out globally in the next six weeks,” he added.

Mianda Ward

  • See the full interview with Ruhanen on Mumbrella next week

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