The Mighty Tor

Grey Worldwide's Global CCO chats ahead of event at ADC Gallery

Tor Myhren is much more than a guy who made babies talk and Oprah give away cars.He’s the global Chief Creative Officer for Grey Worldwide, overseeing the creative vision of the renowned multinational advertising agency network and raising the bar to levels that make other agencies envious (113 Cannes Lions awards this year alone will have that effect.) And Tor isn’t just a creative; he also serves as President of Grey’s New York office. Think of him as a hybrid of Don Draper and Roger Sterling — only with far more accolades and far less hair.

Tor will be the center of attention this Thursday at the ADC Gallery, as ADC and Heidi Consults hosts the latest installment of Diary of a Creative Director, a speaker series that peers into the lives of wildly successful creative professionals, asking in depth questions and receiving candid answers about creativity and careers. We caught up with Tor with a few questions of our own.


Being a creative director can be a funny transition; the skills that got you the job are not necessarily the ones you use on the job. What’s the biggest challenge in making the leap from creative to creative director?

Historically, creatives have done themselves a disservice by pretending they don’t care about the business part of the business. Our industry sits squarely at the intersection of art and commerce, so to ignore half of that equation is naïve. On one side, I believe creative leaders must understand the business and be a huge part of the financial success and growth of a company. On the other side, we must never take our eye off what we do – which is creative. So it’s a balancing act. A difficult, delicate, fascinating balancing act.

“…creatives have done themselves a disservice by pretending they don’t care about the business part of the business.”

Did you have any non-negotiables when you were interviewing for your job at Grey?

That the creative department would be an open floor plan, even if we had to renovate. Grey was not open at the time, and every single creative had their own office. So it was a big deal. When I got there we moved all the creatives from the top floors with big offices and amazing views, to the second floor with old-school wooden cubicles and a nasty street view. People hated it, but it fostered collaboration and they’d never go back to the way it was. Oh, and I had just gone through back surgery so Business Class for all flights was a deal-breaker.

Diary of a Creative Director: Tor Myhren takes place this Thursday, November 12 at the ADC Gallery. Tickets are $20.00 for ADC Members and $40.00 for non-members? Not yet an ADC Member? Join today for only $10.00/month!