Y&R Digs Into Digital

It being mid-2007, Young & Rubicam’s decision to set up a new digital unit does not qualify the venerable agency for cutting edge status. Perhaps its decision to form the interactive division, and re-hire a digital-savvy, former Y&R staffer to run it, can be filed under “better late than never.”

Agencies are increasingly finding that digital cannot be ignored, in many cases shouldn’t be outsourced, and often is best served by an in-house consolidation of skillsets. In announcing the hiring of Tarik Sedkey as its new chief digital officer, Y&R Global CEO Hamish McLennan said the company is “quickly expanding digital as a core agency discipline.”

Sedkey will work closely with McLennan to push for quick growth in the interactive space, said Y&R. The new digital entity, not yet named, will operate as an “embedded agency” nurtured by the far-flung parent agency but allowed a level of “uniqueness” as a digital shop.

Sedkey most recently worked as managing director of account management at Atmosphere BBDO, a decade-old digital marketing company within the Omnicon Group. He joined Atmosphere BBDO in March 2006, coming from mcgarrybowen, where he was director of client services and then group managing director.

Prior to joining mcgarrybowen, Sedkey was an associate partner and director of new media at Accenture, a position he came to after a prior stint with Y&R.

His return to Y&R will happen May 29. “This is a reunion for Tarik at Y&R, as he served as senior vice president, managing director here for five years in the late nineties,” noted the agency. He will be based in New York.

The 84-year-old Y&R, owned by WPP, has 165 offices in 124 cities in 81 countries. Its top clients include Cadbury Schweppes, Colgate-Palmolive, DANONE, Ford and Xerox.

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