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Per Pedersen, ‘by the Network’ Founder and Former Grey Worldwide Creative Chairman, Dies at 58


Friends and colleagues recall the warmth and spirit of 'creative generosity' of a Danish legend who touched the world of advertising

Per Pedersen, ‘by the Network’ Founder and Former Grey Worldwide Creative Chairman, Dies at 58

Per Pedersen, founder of the global independent agency network ‘by The Network’ and former global creative chairman of Grey Worldwide, has died after a sudden but courageous battle with cancer. Per passed away peacefully in Copenhagen on January 4th surrounded by family. He was 58 years old.

Per, who started his career in his native Denmark, co-founded ‘Uncle Grey’ in 1996, a Grey Group ad agency based in Copenhagen. The creative hot shop was recognised as the highest ranked creative agency in the country during his tenure.

Per's ascent within the Grey network soon brought him to its worldwide headquarters in New York, where he assumed the roles of global ECD, deputy worldwide CCO and finally global creative chairman in 2017. 

With over 500+ industry awards and more than 150 Cannes Lions to his credit, the Danish-born creative was widely known for pushing the envelope of possibility and blurring the lines between advertising and pop culture. His Febreze 'Smell Experiment' campaign for Procter & Gamble sent unsuspecting blindfolded participants into overly odoriferous settings; while award-winning non-traditional projects like 'The Gun Shop' and 'Unload your 401k' put his agency’s work front and center into America’s gun control debate.

In 2020, Per left Grey to establish ‘by The Network’, a global network of wholly owned independent creative agencies from around the world. His vision to deliver world-class, borderless creative collaboration at scale has since grown to over 750 creatives across 34 agencies worldwide in less than two years with a global client roster that includes Snap, Prime Video, Carlsberg, Netflix and others.

Per was well recognised as an award show juror, industry speaker, and vocal advocate for creatives and agencies in under-developed countries. In 2022, he created ‘Kill Your Darlings’ – a breakthrough documentary produced in collaboration with global talent platform ‘togetherr’. The film investigated the changing face of the ad industry through the eyes of a young female creative.

Per is survived by his wife Nanna and four children, along with a vast global network of extended family that he has always held close to his heart after more than 25 years in advertising. 

"Moved by the loss of a dear friend and collaborators, tributes have flooded in from those who had the privilege of working with Per," Tanya De Poli, founder & COO of Founders and a board member of by The Network said. “When I first met Per I was immediately struck by his warmth, his way of listening and elevating ideas and his brilliance when it came to talking about the future of our industry. Most of all, I will remember him as an amazing husband to Nanna and father.”

Fellow by The Network chairman of the board, and founder and CEO of Herezie, Andrea Stillacci, added, “Per was a not just a colleague but a close friend that lived his life to the fullest; always leading the way through the light of his talent, the power of his words and the warmth of his hugs.”

Tor Myrhen, VP marketing communications, Apple Inc, is also former president and worldwide CCO of Grey Group. He recalled his time working with Per when both were at Grey. “We will always remember Per for his creative generosity. He was a mentor to so many, lending his creativity to anyone, anytime. It’s what he loved to do. He was also a friend who will be deeply missed by the global creative community he brought together along the way.”

Nils Leonard, founder, Uncommon London, and former chairman and CCO Grey Europe, said, "Per wanted creativity to win. Behind any individual piece of work, job title or jury role was a real belief in the best of our industry, an unshakable passion. He will be remembered for far more than his vocation but for his loyalty to the creative cause, he cared greatly, and as a result so did we all."

It was Per’s wish that all who’d like to attend his funeral are more than welcome.

Date & Time: 14th January 2023, 13:00

Location: Copenhagen Cathedral (Vor Frue Kirke), Nørregade 8, 1165 København, followed by a reception. Please contact for further details.

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by The Network, Fri, 06 Jan 2023 11:12:13 GMT