The move means Grey will look for a new UK chief executive to place Rayman.
Rayman (pictured, above), who has been UK chief executive since July 2016, and chief strategy officer before that, will become chief executive of the new arm.
The practice will be headquartered in London and will launch with 150 staff across the world, who are primarily drawn from the agency’s existing strategic planning resources, including technologists. It will then bring in associates where required to work on projects.
Grey Group worldwide chief executive Michael Houston said the move was an attempt to formalise existing conversations with clients such as GlaxoSmithKline, Procter & Gamble and JM Smuckers.
“This is really being launched based on a client demand. Our clients are asking for this type of [upstream] thinking, we simply haven’t codified the offering.”
While Houston said it is not being set up as a direct competitor to the management consultancies who have been increasingly moving into adland territory, it is an attempt to get more recognition for the effective strategic thinking that ad agencies can provide to help clients solve business problems.
It will also have a different fee structure to the ad agency. While the specifics will depend on the project, he said, “we will borrow a page from the management consultants with a more project and outcome based approach versus charging for man hours.”
At launch, the practice will have full time staff working in the network’s key hubs London, New York, Singapore, Dusseldorf and LA.
Houston said the advantage of Grey Consulting over a traditional consultancy is its creative thinking. “One of the big differences will be regardless of the entry point into an initiative all of the outputs and solutions will be seen through a brand lens. It’s really about the creativity that we bring to the thinking.”
Rayman agreed: “Our practice will go beyond traditional consulting. We will combine analytical rigour with lateral creative thinking and an understanding of how to make things happen to accelerate growth for clients.”
Houston is leading the search to find a replacement for Rayman in the UK, and hopes to have someone in place by the end of the year.
Meanwhile Suresh Nair, who has been the strategic leader of Grey Global (executive vice president, director of global strategic planning), has been appointed chief creative intelligence officer. In the new global role, he will be responsible for growing and operating Grey’s data and analytics capabilities.