“The NY advertising community lost a wonderful person yesterday. He was a dear friend to all that had the privilge of knowing him. His name is Drew Putzel and was a producer at Publicis/NY. All I know is that it was an accident that happened last night in NY. Just thought you would like to know. He was a stellar human being who was loved by all. I believe he was around 27 years old.”
The loss of the U.S. Cellular business to Mullen a couple of months ago is finally having its effect on San Francisco’s Publicis & Hal Riney, which announced staff cuts today. Here’s a statement from an agency spokesperson:
“Yes, today we formally announced our restructuring plan to our staff. Riney has been upfront with our people, letting them know the agency would be restructuring driven by the US Cellular loss. We’ve approached this with transparency, openness and caring, working with staff to find new positions, both at other agencies and within the Publicis Groupe network. The heart and soul of Riney remain. We’re committed to renewing the Riney brand and telling persuasive new stories for a new generation of clients.”
We weren’t able to get actual numbers (though we’re hearing anywhere from 25-40) but from what sources familiar with the matter tell us, all departments at all levels have been affected by Riney’s decision.
Sources familiar with the matter confirm that Jean-Phillipe Maheu, who was tapped to serve as Publicis Modem’s worldwide CEO two years ago, is no longer with the agency. From what we’ve been told, Maheu’s aforementioned position has been “eliminated” as the digital departments will now report to regional CEOs in the network.
Prior to Modem, Maheu spent three years as chief digital officer at Ogilvy North America, replacing Martin Reidy, who left for a marketing gig at Meredith. Maheu’s exit comes six months after then-president Dani Nadel left Publicis Modem to take a position at Scholastic. During his career, the New York-based Maheu also served as CEO of Razorfish for six years.
Well, if our sources are correct, it looks like the strategy & analytics department at Publicis Modem is taking another hit as we’ve been told that senior analyst Amy Singh, who’s been with the agency for just over a year, is leaving next week. Singh’s departure, if legit, comes just three months after Modem NY’s SVP, strategy & analytics Tony Effik called it quits (and eventually wound up at R/GA).
Sources say following Effik’s split (as well as digital measurement & analytics VP Bill Seely’s two months earlier), Singh stepped up and helped manage the strategy & analytics department at Modem, working with clients like Sanofi and General Mills in the process. Prior to PM, she held similar positions at Razorfish and Undertone. We’re double-checking for confirmation from our Modem contacts and will update when we get it.
There’s been a changing of the guards at Publicis Modem as its chief technology officer Brian Skahan is taking over as EVP, managing director of the New York office. Skahan, who has been with Modem since August and is retaining his CTO role, is taking over for Hyo Yeon, who is leaving to assume the title of president at digital shop, Fjord USA. Yeon spent 10 months as MD at Modem and later took on additional responsibilities as senior client lead on digital following the agency’s restructuring a few months back. In a statement, the departing exec explains, “I joined Modem because I believe in the vision and spent time making changes for the future. I think Modem is now very well poised. Personally, I wanted to get back to the design and product development side.”
As for Skahan, prior to joining Modem, the new EVP/MD spent three-and-a-half years at CP+B, leading development teams for clients including Microsoft, Domino’s and Jose Cuervo. In addition, Skahan led the Amex OPEN interactive teams while at Crispin.
Sources familiar with the matter confirm that pharma giant Sanofi, which makes Allegra, Plavix and Ambien among many other products, has expanded its relationship with Digitas Health. As the hed says, the company is specifically consolidating digital creative duties for Pasteur (its vaccines division) with the Philly-based agency, which already had a pre-existing relationship with Sanofi as one of its media partners.
As a result, Publicis Modem is no longer working on Pasteur (example of PM’s work here), though sources say the New York-based unit has been working with Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (now home to Digitas/Razorfish Health) to help transition the relationship.
In other Modem-related news, Kim Easley, who has spent nearly two years as the agency’s VP/director of creative resources, has resigned and is heading back to her former life as a recruiter. We’ve been told that if need be, Publicis Modem will now be tapping into the creative resourcing function at Publicis NY, which has been working more closely with PM since the latter’s recent restructuring.
Update: Just to clarify, here’s a current rundown of Sanofi Pasteur agency partnerships:
- Creative AOR for Healthcare Professionals: Saatchi & Saatchi Healthcare Innovations
- Creative AOR for Consumer: Kaplan Thaler Group
- Digital Media: Digitas Health
- Off-line Media: Optimedia
- Digital AOR: Publicis Modem
As of January 1, 2012, digital AOR will transition from Publicis Modem to Digitas Health.
We’re not sure if this is an evolution of the “shared centers of excellence” structure that Digitas/Razorfish Health were plotting after the last round of layoffs this summer, but whatever the case, the agencies have now aligned with Publicis Healthcare Communications Group as part of a revamp of Publicis Groupe’s healthcare offering.
With this move, Digitas and Razorfish Health will join a PHCG roster that currently includes Saatchi & Saatchi Health, Publicis Life Brands, Publicis Healthware International, Publicis Touchpoint Solutions, and Publicis Medical Education Group. Leadership-wise, while Digitas/Razorfish Health CEO is calling it quits by year’s end, global co-presidents Michael du Toit and Alexandra von Plato will remain on board and report to PHCG president/CEO Nick Colucci. In a statement, Publicis Groupe COO Jean-Yves Naouri, who’s been mentioned over and over as Maurice Levy‘s eventual successor and oversees PHCG, says, “This move will create patterns of cross-fertilization, ensuring that we have the sharpest and best integrated skills on the market.”
The Philly-based Health units’ client roster currently includes J&J, Prizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
We have to assume this is part of the agency restructuring that’s currently taking place, as sources are telling us that the Publicis/Publicis Modem creative departments are aligning here in New York. As a result, we hear that all creative folks housed within are making the move down to the Chelsea Market office (the building is also occupied by Mr. Youth among others). We’re waiting for official confirmation, but our spies say the agency used the phrase, “building a creative powerhouse,” when breaking the news to employees. We’re waiting for some official confirmation on this. We’ll keep you posted.
Update: A source familiar with the matter reminds us and clarifies that PubMo moved to the annex across 10th avenue, which houses Moet Hennessy among others as well, over a year ago. Sorry, Chelsea, here’s some background.
We will try not to pile on in regards to the Modem maelstrom, but a tipster was kind enough to send us the above image, which shows the display arranged and kept by Publicis Modem senior analyst, marketing analytics Josh Golfischer. Accoring to spies, Goldfischer, who has spent the last two-and-a-half years at PM, “kept the name tags of all the employees that left the [analytics] team during his 2 years. With Friday being his last day he posted them outside his cube wall and it was dubbed ‘The Wall of the Fallen.’” Perhaps here is proof that data/analytics folks do have some emotion.
Sources familiar with the matter tell us that a few notable creatives at Publicis & Hal Riney have put in their notice at the agency over the past two weeks. Among them are creative director Adam Koppel, who in the past has worked as an ACD/copywriter on U.S. Cellular campaigns at Riney before getting promoted to CD.
In addition, we’ve been told that ACDs Rikesh Lal (left) and Justin Kramm have also given notice. Both creatives had two tours of duty at Riney, first as art director and copywriter, respectively from 2007-2009, during which time they were involved with campaigns including the Cyber Gold Lion-winning “AAA Town” and the 2008 redesign of the agency’s website. After leaving for brief stints at Tribal DDB Amsterdam, the creative duo returned to Publicis & Hal Riney in April 2010 to assume the roles of ACDs. From what we’ve been told by our sources, all three creatives are leaving to freelance (because that’s so hot right now, apparently). We’ll hopefully get some official confirmation on the departures as the day/week progresses.
Update: It looks like it’s all on good terms as Publicis & Hal Riney says, “Yes, we can confirm that they’ve decided to go freelance, and we fully support them. They’re all incredibly talented creatives who will do amazing work anywhere and everywhere.”