Michael Houston continues his fast-track rise at Grey. Today, the agency disclosed that Houston has been promoted to global president of the agency. He continues to report to Global CEO James Heekin.
The promotion makes Houston, 43, the number two executive at Grey and sources say he’s a frontrunner to succeed Heekin someday -- while stressing there is no specific succession timetable at present. Heekin is 66.
In a memo to the troops announcing the promotion, Heekin wrote that in his expanded new worldwide leadership role, Houston would work closely with him in the management of Grey’s EMEA, Latin America and Asia-Pacific regions. Houston will also continue to oversee the agency’s North American operations.
“This well-deserved promotion is a logical step for Michael who has been such a vital factor in the success of our New York flagship office and our North American region since 2007,” Heekin stated in his memo. “He’s built a first-class management team, a culture of innovation evident in our creative and new business success and nurtured a winning spirit second to none.”
Houston joined Grey New York in 2007 as executive vice president, director of marketing, to lead Grey's business development and brand marketing efforts. He was promoted to global chief marketing officer of Grey worldwide in 2010. He was named to the new position of managing director of Grey New York in 2011, and then chief operating officer of the 1,000-person-strong office in 2012. A year later Houston was promoted to the NA CEO post, overseeing the New York, San Francisco and Canadian offices as well as Grey Activation and PR and Wing, the multicultural marketing communications agency.
Under his leadership, Grey has won such blue-chip clients as Gillette, Volvo, Hasbro, Papa John's, Kellogg's and Marriott.
The promotion follows by two months the departure of Houston’s long-time creative partner at the agency Tor Myhren, who had risen to become Grey’s worldwide chief creative officer. He left for a senior marketing communications post at Apple early this year.