It’s been fairly quiet on the Digitas the staffing front for the past few months, save for a new hire here, a couple of departures there. Now, though, sources familiar with the matter are telling us that the agency is making some reductions in its New York and Boston offices as of this week, and from what we hear, 40-50 individuals in various departments are being affected. Digitas isn’t commenting but we’re getting word that there’s no specific reason for the cuts, just another case of agency readjustment, which in this particular one affects roughly 2% of the Publicis Groupe agency’s North American workforce. We’ll keep you posted if and when we hear more.
After three years at Digitas, where she last served as VP/group creative director on the agency’s American Express account and helped win new biz including the likes of Mondelez, Kate Daggett has left to assume the ECD title at Tenthwave, a digital agency that houses offices from NYC to Dallas to San Francisco.
According to one seemingly despondent tipster, “She was at Digitas for three years and was the heart and soul of the agency. She brought life, positivity and vibrancy to an otherwise highly competitive and depressing office. There were actual tears from both clients and the team when she left.” Don’t know if we’ll garner the same kind of emotion if and when we do the same thing, but during her career, Daggett has also worked as a creative director at the likes of TBWA\Chiat\Day and Agency.com. As for Tenthwave, the agency’s client roster includes heavy-hitters such as Google, Facebook, eBay, Duncan Hines and Skype.
We first started hearing murmurs about this towards the end of last year, but they proved to be unfounded at the time. Well, fast-forward a few months and the script has flipped as we’ve received confirmation that Digitas and longtime creative exec Mark Beeching have indeed parted ways. Here’s a brief statement from an agency spokesperson: “After a decade of service to Digitas, Mark Beeching will set course on an exciting new professional path, outside of the agency, and Publicis Groupe. We thank Mark for his signature disruptive thinking and creative leadership and wish him the very best.”
During his decade-long stint at Digitas, Beeching, who worked out of New York, moved up the ranks from global ECD to his most recent position as worldwide chief creative/strategy officer at the agency, overseeing work for clients including AmEx and AOL in the process. No word yet, though, if Digitas has immediate plans to replace him. We’ll keep you posted.
Well, no doubt they’ve certainly been on our radar over the past week or so, but this time, it’s not a defection but a promotion at Digitas that’s caught our attention. We’ve received confirmation that Kenneth Parks, currently EVP/executive managing director at the agency who’s working out of its New York office, is assuming the newly created role of Digitas North America chief marketing officer, effective immediately.
Parks has been with Digitas for the last 15 years give or take, during which time he served as SVP/client relationships & new business for a few years at what was then Modem Media, and subsequently SVP/managing director of Digitas’ Stamford and Atlanta offices. As you’d probably expect from a CMO position, Parks will be responsible for new biz growth as well as marketing strategy.
Another week, another Digitas/Team Sprint departure, though this time at least, we’ve been told by sources familiar with the matter that the exec in question is planning on staying within the Publicis Group/VivaKi family. Yes, Robert Cross, who initially joined Digitas as SVP of media and led digital media planning for Kraft but subsequently developed the communications planning practice for Team Sprint, is moving on. As mentioned, sources say that Cross is exploring options within the broader holding company.
Prior to joining up with Digitas, Cross spent several years at Mindshare, where he last served as managing director, communications planning and led strategic planning for Sprint and worked with other notable brands including Unilever, ConAgra and Kimberly-Clark. Sources add that there are no plans at the moment to replace him at Digitas.
Guess it’s that kind of week, coincidental as it may be. A day after we reported that Digitas EVP/media director Carl Fremont was leaving said agency, sources familiar with the matter has confirmed that Seth Goldberg is also parting ways after spending the last year-plus as VP/group director, brand strategy on Team Sprint out of the Chicago office. Where’s he headed, you ask? Well, interestingly enough, our sources say Draftfcb, where Goldberg spent nearly eight years working in the agency’s Windy City hub as a senior-level exec in the planning/strategy department on accounts including Kmart.
The irony is that just a year ago, Goldberg was named in a poaching lawsuit that Draftfcb filed against Digitas, but guess the hatchet has now been buried. We’re trying to get confirmation along with title/start date for Goldberg from Draft’s end, who prior to said agency, worked on the account side at the likes of Wunderman.
Update: Sources familiar with the matter tell us that Goldberg will indeed be rejoining Draftfcb Chicago, effective April 29, as SVP, group planning director.
Sources familiar with the matter confirm that Carl Fremont, who has been with Digitas for a dozen years give or take and has most recently served as EVP/media director, is leaving the agency. From what we’ve been told, Fremont will be parting ways with Digitas within the next week or so and is heading to MEC, though no word yet on what his new title/start date is at the latter WPP/GroupM agency. During his decade-plus at Digitas, Fremont worked out the agency’s New York office and oversaw its channel and partnership solutions as well as the digital marketing group.
Prior to Digitas, Fremont spent 16 years at Wunderman, last serving as EVP/director of media services and managing all direct response media activities for the agency.
We suppose it’s safe to call it DigitasLBi now as the agency folks behind the newly merged entity have announced that they’ve found a new North American CEO in Tony Weisman. The new chief exec takes over for his former boss, Colin Kinsella, who spent the last six years within the Publicis Groupe fold, the first three being at Razorfish and the last three serving as president then CEO of the North American region.
Last we recall, Weisman, a six-year Digitas vet himself (and one-time Super Tuesday contributor), was part of the agency’s “realignment” in summer 2010 that resulted in an expansion of his role beyond global client lead/president of the Chicago office to include Boston, Detroit and San Francisco as well. The new DigitasLBi North American CEO will remain in his native Chicago, though, and will report to newly installed DigitasLBi global CEO Luke Taylor, who offers these warm words in a statement:
“Tony blends client business understanding, marketing acumen and instinct. He brings altitude and aptitude to the client-agency relationship that inspires innovation and boldness, and ultimately growth. I am confident that Tony will take the reins of this incredible opportunity with the same infectious energy and foresight that have guided his career.”
Prior to Digitas, Weisman served as CMO at Draftfcb Chicago and spent nearly two decades prior at Leo Burnett.
Truth be told, it’s been well over nine months since we last reported on cuts at Digitas, but alas, we’ve now received confirmation from the Publicis Groupe agency (we’re not sure if it’s time to refer to it as DigitasLBi just yet) has let go of several staffers in New York. The Digitas camp sent us this statement: “In any given month, we calibrate staffing up and down based on project demand and client needs. Staffing decisions follow the natural contraction and expansion rhythm of a healthy business.”
From what sources familiar with the matter tell us, this particular “contraction and expansion rhythm” has resulted in approximately 30 of Digitas NY’s 550 or so staffers getting cut as well as a handful in the Stamford and Atlanta offices.