School Reports 2016: Grey London


Grey London's impressive turnaround last year was dramatic enough to warrant a close second place in Campaign's Agency of the Year category

The agency secured 14 new clients. Wins included Tate Britain, Jacob’s, General Mills and the £53 million Vodafone UK account.

These made up for the end of its relationship with News UK and a significant reduction in its global work with Volvo. The latter will be a bitter pill given that the LifePaint campaign won two Grands Prix at Cannes.

Grey was also recognised for commercial impact in 2015, being named the Euro Effies Agency of the Year.

Despite the success, some big names wanted out. Most notably: the chief executive, Chris Hirst; the chief marketing officer, Cat Davis; the creative director Hollie Newton; the deputy executive creative director Dave Monk; and the managing director, Bill Scott.

But Grey used this as an opportunity to promote from within. Lucy Jameson took on the chief executive role, while Leo Rayman filled her previous post as chief strategy officer. Other promotions included Natalie Graeme and Sarah Jenkins. There was also a new creative leadership team in Vicki Maguire, Dom Goldman and Perry Nightingale.

What’s more, Grey was by far the best-performing creative agency in the Campaign/IPA diversity research.

The agency is producing strong work and winning new clients while changing the kind of work it creates and its internal make-up. More of the same in 2016, please.

How the agency rates itself:  9

"We won two Grands Prix and were the best-performing UK agency in Cannes. We were crowned the most effective agency in the UK. We hired rock-star talent and promoted the people that could take us further than ever before. We won 14 pitches. We made more globally famous work than any other agency, making our best work on our biggest clients. And we demanded change in an industry that’s too content with the status quo."

Grey London
Type of agency Creative studio
Company ownership WPP
Nielsen billings 2015 £203m
Nielsen billings 2014 £148m
Declared income n/s*
Total accounts at year end 28
Accounts won 14 (biggest: Vodafone)
Accounts lost 1 (News UK)
Number of staff 500 (+11%)
Women in senior management 43%
BAME staff in senior management 29%
Key personnel Nils Leonard, chairman and chief creative officer
Lucy Jameson, chief executive
Leo Rayman, chief strategy officer
Natalie Graeme, managing director
Sarah Jenkins, chief marketing officer

Score key: 9 Outstanding  8 Excellent  7 Good  6 Satisfactory  5 Adequate  4 Below average  3 Poor  2 A year to forget  1 Survival in question

Footnote: *indicates where agencies claim the corporate governance constraints of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.

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