Worldwide Partners Inc. (WPI), the world’s largest owner-operated network of advertising agencies and communications services companies, has elected Chuck Kelly , president of Minneapolis-based Preston Kelly, as its new chairman.
In this two-year position, Kelly, succeeds Ian McAteer, managing director of The Union Advertising Agency in Edinburgh , Scotland . Prior to assuming the role of chairman, Kelly served as vice chairman of WPI from July 2008 until June 2010.
“Throughout his term as chairman, Ian’s done a terrific job during trying economic times,” Kelly said. “Under his leadership, Worldwide Partners has more than weathered the financial storms. He has left the network well-positioned in markets that matter most to clients, while overseeing a broadening of communications disciplines in such areas as digital and pharmaceutical advertising. I look forward to continuing his work in strengthening the network.”
As chairman of the 10-person WPI Board of Directors—which comprises advertising principals from WPI partner agencies around the world—Kelly will guide the strategic and financial direction of the network. With client billings in excess of $3.4 billion under management, WPI’s owner-operated network is made up of 92 advertising agencies that employ 4,500 people in 123 offices in 55 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and North America . Over the last three years, WPI partner agencies have won more than $100 million in collective new business.
Kelly’s shop, Preston Kelly, has been a WPI partner agency for 13 years, buying its share in the network in 1997. With an estimated $60 million in billings, Preston Kelly’s clients include Roundy’s Supermarkets, Grand Casino, HealthPartners, Physicians Mutual, National Marrow Donor Program, the Minnesota Zoo and Mall of America.
In July of this year, the agency won recognition as the Midwest Small Agency of the Year from Advertising Age, a stiff competition that celebrates the achievements of the nation’s smaller advertising shops. After scoring a Gold Effie in 2009 for its work on behalf of HealthPartners, the agency has also earned kudos from Communication Arts and finalist honors in competitions such as the MPA Kelly Awards, the One Show and the O’Toole Awards.
“I’m looking forward to working with Chuck as we continue to evolve the network to anticipate clients’ needs,” said WPI President and CEO Al Moffatt. “Clients still need ideas and creativity from their agencies, but increasingly we are relied on to be experts in emerging technologies, as well as being a reliable resource in growth markets around the world.
“Worldwide Partners has been adding great partner agencies around the world to meet those needs under Ian, and, under Chuck’s guidance, I expect that we will continue to do so,” he said.