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Stuart Elliott Takes the New York Times Buyout

Today in End of An Era news, agency PRs everywhere will no longer be pitching Stuart Elliott for coverage in The New York Times. As Elliott announced on his Facebook page this morning (and Capital New York reported), he has chosen to take early retirement via one of 100 staff buyouts after working at the paper since 1991.

In his words:

Stuart Elliott

Elliott has, of course, covered everything from campaigns to M&A in his two-plus decades with the NYT.

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Martin Ringqvist Joins 72andSunny as GCD

martin RWe didn’t run this story last week because we couldn’t verify it, but here it is: 72andSunny has hired Martin Ringqvist, best known as the guy behind the Van Damme “Epic Split” spot, as its newest group creative director.

Ringqvist will begin his new GCD role in January, joining the agency from Sweden’s Forsman & Bodenfors, where he was senior partner and copywriter.

72andSunny wouldn’t tell AdAge which accounts Ringqvist will work on just as they wouldn’t tell us whether last week’s rumors about his hiring were true. But the press release does provide us with a couple of quotes, which we will now dutifully reproduce. From CCO Glenn Cole:

“Martin’s innovative body of work speaks for itself, but his role in helping to shape the famously collaborative culture at Forsman & Bodenfors is just as significant. I’m excited to see how he will evolve what we do and how we do it.”

From Ringqvist himself:

“High pace, demanding clients and a total commitment to the task. Who would say no to that? And when it stood clear to me that the people at 72andSunny were just as amazing as their work, it was a no-brainer.”

Sid Lee Adds Four Creative Hires


The New York office of Sid Lee announced today the addition of four creatives to its full-time team, effective immediately: Design Director Verena Michelitsch, Co-Creative Director Cecilia Azcarate, Senior Creative Andre Gidoin and Copywriter Dana Tiel.

Michelitsch arrives from boutique design agency RoAndCo, where she has served as a senior designer since January of 2013. She established herself as a founding member of Graz, Austria-based design studio En Garde before moving back to New York in 2011 to pursue freelance work for Sagmeister & Walsh and Pentagram Design, where she was responsible for “handling a variety of branding, illustration and art direction projects over the years.”

Azcarate arrives from M&C Saatchi, where she served as an associate creative director. Her work has been recognized with a variety of awards, including Webby Awards, D&AD, Eurobest and Epica. She has also held art director positions with Johannes Leonardo in New York, and Happiness Brussels and Anouk & Company in Belgium.

Gidoin joins Sid Lee from Leo Burnett New York, where he arrived in early 2013 as a senior art director. Prior to that he spent around four years serving as an interactive art director for Leo Burnett in Milan. A 2009 graduate of Oslo’s Westerdals School of Communication, Gidoin has been named to one of the top 16 young creatives in the world by Young Guns for two consecutive years.

Tiel joins Sid Lee from Grey New York, where she has served as a copywriter since arriving in 2012. She previously served as a copywriter at SapientNitro. A 2011 graduate of New York’s School of Visual Arts, she has earned a Cannes Young Lion Award, in addition to multiple One Show awards, a Clio, an international Andy and an ADC Young Gun Award.

mcgarrybowen Names First CCO

Mark KIn news we missed, mcgarrybowen followed the debut of its first work for new client Intel and staffing changes at its New York and San Francisco offices by announcing the appointment of its first CCO: New York MD/ECD Mark Koelfgen.

The agency did not send out a release, choosing instead to confirm Koelfgen’s promotion at its town hall event on Friday.

mcgarrybowen hired Koelfgen directly from GSD&M, where he served as ACD, in 2005; prior to joining GSD&M, he worked as an ACD at Deutsch New York after beginning his copywriting career at DDB/Tracy Locke in Dallas. mcgarrybowen hired Koelfgen as a creative director, and he worked on the Reebok and Brahma beer accounts before being promoted to the MD/ECD position in the agency’s New York office in 2009.

Koelfgen’s accomplishments during his tenure at mcgarrybowen include the successful launch of Verizon’s Droid brand, which led to the agency’s subsequent victory in the Verizon Mobile pitch (a pitch on which he was lead creative).

The agency says that they picked him after searching for candidates both internally and externally. As a member of the New York leadership team, the new CCO will work closely with mbNY President Tom Sewell and Global CSO Jennifer Zimmerman while reporting directly to co-founder Gordon Bowen (who currently oversees global creative strategy).

In addition to Verizon, Koelfgen’s portfolio includes work for Pepsi, AT&T, Microsoft, American Airlines, IKEA, Snapple and more.

Sonic Signs Kevin Durant in Brand’s First Sports Endorsement Deal


Sonic has signed a multi-year endorsement deal with Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, the brand’s first sports endorsement deal, Adweek reports.

As part of the deal, Durant will star alongside Sonic’s “Two Guys” in a national broadcast campaign expected this summer. The “Two Guys” in question, New York-based former The Colbert Report writer Peter Grosz and Chicago-based improv comedian T.J. Jagodowski, have been a staple of the brand’s advertising since being brought back by GSP+P in early 2012, two years after being phased out after their initial run with Kansas City-based agency Barkley. Durant will also be involved with Sonic educational charity Limeades for Learning and will help brainstorm new menu items.

Durant achieved instant-celebrity with his emotional acceptance speech for the NBA MVP award, which, coupled with his connection to Sonic’s hometown of Oklahoma City, attracted the attention of CMO Todd Smith. “What really happened was the MVP speech that he made last year really pushed him into a national presence more, but also, his likability is off the charts,” Smith told Adweek. “For us, we wanted someone who has a hometown feel with a national presence because that’s the type of brand we are.”

Publicis Groupe’s Level Studios Has a New CEO


Publicis Groupe’s Level Studios has announced the appointment of Dan Connolly as CEO, MediaPost reports. He fills a role left vacant by the departure of Tom Adamski, now CEO of Razorfish Global, for Rosetta in April of 2013.

Connolly, who over the past sixteen months has risen from partner, to president and now CEO, will be responsible for overseeing all business units across the agency’s U.S. and European locations and will also act as a member of the Brand Leadership team for Level Studios’ parent network, Razorfish Global. He will operate primarily out of San Luis Obispo, California but will travel between Level’s offices and clients as part of his expanded role, with an emphasis on the Bay Area and New York. Connoly told MediaPost his objectives in the new role are to complete building “Level’s executive leadership team, align talent across existing and new offices, and to work closely with the newly formed Razorfish Global and Brand leadership teams.” Read more

We Hear: Big Changes Coming to Rosetta

rosetta_logoToday Rosetta confirmed that it will announce some big changes in its leadership later this week. The move is not unexpected given the September announcement that now-former CEO Tom Adamski would lead the new Razorfish Global network, a group “comprised of the Razorfish, Rosetta, LEVEL Studios and Denuo brands” as well as “portions of the Groupe’s latest acquisition, Nurun.”

Talk amongst various offices hints at a “big reorg” coming. We were told that we would have to wait for the press release for confirmation on details, but the digital grapevine does claim knowledge of some changes:

  • “Several managing partners” have already left the agency
  • The entire lineup will be “streamlined”

The only individual name we hear among the alleged departures is that of Lars Bastholm, who joined Rosetta as its first-ever global CCO almost exactly one year ago after spending time in top creative roles at Cheil USA and AKQA and serving as digital chief at Ogilvy North America. While we can’t confirm that Bastholm is among those leaving the agency, we expect the news to include both hirings and firings.

You may remember that a string of changes preceded this pending shakeup: over the summer, Rosetta lost a COO and a CFO while gaining an ECD and a managing partner. That move followed an April round of reductions affecting approximately five percent of North American staffers as well as the February departure of ECD Dave McClain.

Updates when we receive them…in the form of a press release.

BBH London Promotes Caroline Pay to Deputy ECD

Caroline Pay

BBH London has promoted Caroline Pay, formerly managing partner, to the role of deputy executive creative director, Campaign reports.

She will join Managing Director Mel Exon, and Joint Chief Strategy Officers Jason Gonsalves and Jonathan Bottomley on a new senior management team responsible for the day-to-day running of the agency.  Her current accounts include Google, Baileys and Refuge.

Pay originally joined BBH as a managing partner in January, following a three and a half year stint as a creative director at Mother London. While at Mother she worked on accounts including Post Office, New Look and GREAT Britain. Prior to Mother, she was creative director at Karmarama and a freelance creative at W+K, where she worked on the Honda account. Before that she spent nearly two years as a creative director at BBH London, beginning in 2005, counting Levi’s among her accounts.

“This management team has a highly complementary set of skills, but a completely aligned vision for BBH,” said CEO Ben Fennell. “Mel, Caroline, Jason and Jonathan are all outstanding individual leaders. I am excited to see what they will achieve as a team.”

Publicis Kaplan Thaler President/CCO Stepping Down

Publicis Kaplan Thaler_Logo

Rob Feakins, President and CCO of New York’s Publicis Kaplan Thaler, will be leaving the agency next month.

Various sources told us that Feakins made the announcement in an all-agency meeting this afternoon, and a spokesperson for PKT has confirmed that he plans to step down. Here’s the official statement:

“Yes, after eight terrific years at Publicis, Rob Feakins has decided it is time to move on to something new. Rob has been one of the hardest working creative leads in our business. This year alone the work he has shepherded for the agency has won over 140 creative awards. The most in our history. We all think so highly of Rob and wish him well as he moves on to this next phase.”

Feakins joined Publicis New York in 2006 as President/CCO after six years at Kirshenbaum, Bond + Partners. He retained that position after the New York office merged with Kaplan Thaler in 2012.

A reader tells us that Feakins will remain with PKT until mid-December and that there has been no news of a search for someone to fill his role.

The agency also has yet to comment on rumored changes regarding its name and location.

Two Executives Leave R/GA San Francisco


This afternoon we learned that two executives are no longer with R/GA’s San Francisco office.

We don’t have much in the way of details, but we know that Managing Director Steve Weinswig and ECD Rob Smiley have left the IPG shop.

Weinswig joined R/GA as VP/MD in December 2011; he previously served as manager of San Francisco’s frog design and arrived at the agency with more than two decades of experience including a stint in accounts at Leo Burnett. He also helped co-manage R/GA’s Los Angeles office, which opened in 2013.

Smiley was promoted to the ECD position in early 2011 along with Mark Shewmaker, who is now chief experience officer at another Bay Area agency, SMITH. Prior to joining R/GA as a freelance CD, Smiley directed creative in-house at Apple, served as GCD and global creative director on Absolut at TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, and helped launch Chiat’s San Francisco office while working with clients like Levi’s.

A spokesman describes the decision to part ways with R/GA as “mutual,” noting that R/GA appreciates the work done by both parties over the years.

In case you missed them, the agency’s latest spots for Beats have been getting a good bit of attention from trade and sports/entertainment press outlets.