Adland Luminary Ed Ney Dies

Ed Ney, former Y&R Chairman and Chairman Emeritus, died Wednesday. He was 88. Ney served as Y&R's CEO and then Chairman from 1970 to 1989, having joined the agency in 1951. He returned to Y&R in 1999 as Chairman Emeritus.

Ney was one of the industry’s leading lights for decades.  In the 1970s, Ney was among the first to understand that in a changing marketplace clients would benefit from a full range of marketing communications disciplines. He began acquiring companies, pioneering integrated communications -- what he then coined The Whole Egg -- and acquired the companies that became Young & Rubicam Group.

Martin Sorrell, Chairman and CEO of WPP, Y&R’s parent company, stated: "Ed understood, probably more than anybody else, both the power of agency brands and, at the same time the paradoxical need to bring them together. Y&R itself, Wunderman, Burson-Marsteller, Cohn & Wolfe, Sudler & Hennessey, Landor, amongst others all exemplify the strength and need for the "Whole Egg" approach. He understood it all and saw it sooner than most."

After Y&R, Ney served as the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, where he played a key role in efforts to expand the U.S. - Canada Free Trade Agreement to Mexico.

He then spent some time at Burson-Marsteller where in 1995, he became Chairman of Marsteller Advertising.

During his long career at Young & Rubicam, he continued to shape the firm’s diversified global communications framework. “When I started at Y&R in 1976, it was in the golden days of Ed Ney's tenure,” said David Sable, global CEO of Y&R. “His charm was magnetic; his generosity, magnanimous. Ed was known to walk the building, where he talked to everyone he passed, knew everyone's name and always had a question or kind observation to share. His idea that we should integrate communications… changed the course of the industry.”

Ney served on the International Advisory Board of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (C.S.I.S.), was a member of the Advertising Hall of Fame, and an Honorary Chairman of The Advertising Council. He served as a Trustee of The Paley Center for Media and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In addition, he received the Gold Medal (for Advertising) from the International Radio & Television Society in 1989. 

Ney is survived by his wife, Patricia Murray Wood. He has three children from a previous marriage, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. 

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3 comments about "Adland Luminary Ed Ney Dies".
  1. Michael E. Keenan from Keenan & Company , January 9, 2014 at 10:06 a.m.
    Ed was one the greats, was one of the reasons Y&R was known as a wonderful place to work, clients loved them and employees almost never left.
  2. David Armitage from Adroit/Media Math , January 9, 2014 at 11:59 a.m.
    Truly one of the great talents in the ad biz, no question. I met briefly met Ed as an AE at DYR in LA on the regional KFC business in the late 80's. Even though the real revenue was on the national KFC biz out of YRNY, on a visit out to LA, he took the time to come by my office to ask a number of questions about the biz and even offered up some advice as to how to grow it. I'll never forget looking up from my desk and having David Willoughby, CEO of DYR, introduce me to Ed and ask if he could ask me a few questions about the business. While a brief meeting, I've never forgotten it to this day. Ed, you will be missed.
  3. david wojdyla from andvertising, inc. , January 10, 2014 at 3:38 p.m.
    To paraphrase a line written by another Madison Avenue giant, “I NEVER MET THE MAN BUT HE HAD A TREMENDOUS IMPACT ON MY CAREER.” Rest in peace, Mr. Ney.