AMV BBDO chief executive officer, Sarah Douglas, has resigned. She has been CEO for two-and-a-half years and worked at the agency for twenty-one years.
Douglas became CEO in January 2019, replacing group chief executive Dame Cilla Snowball who retired after twenty-eight years at AMV. She had been chef client officer since 2012, following a promotion from joint managing partner.
Douglas led the Essity account, whose campaigns changed how periods were talked about Blood Normal, Viva la Vulva and #Wombstories.
It has not been a golden age for AMV BBDO, which lost key clients in the last 12 months. BT consolidated its advertising into Publicis Groupe last August; PepsiCo’s Walkers and Doritos brands left last year too; Quaker Oats also began a review mid-2020; and it was recently removed from the pitch for Asda, which had been a client since 2018. In January this year, long-serving joint chief strategy officers, Craig Mawdsley and Bridget Angear, left AMV BBDO to set up an independent strategy studio.
In 2019 it ceased to be the largest agency in the UK by billings (according to Neilsen), moving down to second place behind Omnicom sibling, adam&eveDDB. In 2020 it fell further to #5.
Andrew Robertson, global chief executive of BBDO Worldwide, stated, “I interviewed Sarah when she was joining the agency 20 years ago. I have enormous respect for her intellect, her integrity, and her commitment to breakthrough creative excellence. I would like to thank her for everything she did at AMV BBDO and wish her nothing but the best in whatever she does next.”
Douglas commented, “Having led AMV BBDO to two outstanding years creatively, I have decided after 20 years it is time for me to step down. I want to thank my clients for their partnership, trust and belief in the power of creativity and I want to thank everyone in the agency for all their love and support through the pandemic and for keeping on keeping on every day even in the most challenging of times. Together we have taken important steps towards driving greater diversity, equality and inclusion in everything we do and I know none of us will rest until it’s done.”
AMV BBDO has said that it will name Douglas’s successor in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Michael Pring, deputy chairman and chief marketing officer of AMV BBDO, will oversee the transition as acting CEO.