Ogilvy & Mather's Shelly Lazarus is stepping down as chairman, after 41 years at the agency. She will be succeeded by Miles Young, Ogilvy's chief executive.
Lazarus has served as Ogilvy's chairman since 1997. She will now serve as chairman emeritus, effective July 1.
The change was announced today at Ogilvy's board meeting in Sao Paulo, Brazil. At the same time, two new directors were elected to the board: Steve Harding, Global CEO of OgilvyAction, and Thomas Strerath, CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Germany.
In a statement, Young called Lazarus "an exceptional individual, an outstanding leader and an inspirational evangelist for branding."
A few weeks ago, Lazarus talked to FINS about how she got started at Ogilvy, her leadership philosophy and her take on the role on women in the workplace. Turns out, she got her start at Ogilvy when a headhunter called her saying that the agency was looking for "somebody who knew something about hair."
"I thought I'd go to Ogilvy and stay for two years," she said. "But I came and never left. It wasn't a conscious thing, I just never left."
In the interview, she reminisced about how "people dressed wildly" when she first joined the agency, how living in Dayton, Ohio, gave her a taste of the "real America up close and personal," and about how being put on the American Express account was a "huge thing" for her.
She also gave her philosophy on leadership. "You've got to find five to 10 people who will stick by you to achieve a mission. Together, you have to be clear about what that mission is, what the strategy is and you also have to have a shared awareness about what the culture you wish to establish is," she said. "Then you divide up the task and get out of the way, but make sure you're always available to support your team. People say you lead the way you've always wanted to be led and that is how I have always wanted to be led."
Read the full interview with Lazarus here.
Write to Saabira Chaudhuri at email@example.com