Chief Creative Kevin Roddy Leaves BBH

Creative Conflict With Agency Cited as Reason for Departure

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Kevin Roddy
Kevin Roddy

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The exodus continues.

In what feels like an almost weekly occurrence in adland, another agency chief creative officer post is vacant: Bartle Bogle Hegarty is searching for a new CCO in New York after the sudden exit of Kevin Roddy.

Mr. Roddy didn't return calls for comment, but the Publicis Groupe-backed agency employed some strong language in an announcement, characterizing his departure as a creative conflict. "I have a huge respect for Kevin but ultimately we disagreed over the creative direction of the office and Kevin resigned," said principal John Hegarty. "I'm very sad it came to this. I worked hard to avoid this situation but in a company so focused on creativity these things happen."

BBH said it is "considering plans for creative leadership of the New York office" and that in the interim the agency's senior creative staff will continue to oversee day-to-day business. The New york office counts Google, Ally Bank and Unilever among its clients.

In trying to replace Mr. Roddy, BBH will have to compete for talent with shops such as Deutsch, Euro RSCG and JWT, all of which are trying to fill empty CCO positions too.

Prior to BBH, Mr. Roddy served in top creative roles at Euro RSCG, Fallon and Cliff Freeman & Partners, having collected every major advertising accolade from D&AD to Cannes Lions to Andy awards. He spent six years running the creative department for the U.S. arm of the BBH micronetwork. In addition to his creative role, Mr. Roddy earlier this year became more closely involved in helping run the day-to-day activities alongside office CEO Greg Andersen.

BBH, New York, has had a tough 2010. The shop's biggest account, the $270 million Cadillac business, was yanked suddenly after the arrival of GM's new marketing boss, Joel Ewanick, who moved it to Fallon. Mr. Roddy's departure comes on the heels of the departures of BBH Labs' head Ben Malbon, who went to Google, and office chairman Steve Harty, who has moved on to consulting.

Mr. Roddy was among a slew of top execs who spoke to Ad Age for a story last week about the spike in creative talent leaving big agencies for other pursuits. "Creativity used to be put on a pedestal, and I don't think that's the case anymore," he said. "Creative people have become more of a commodity, and I think that takes the wind out of them. The creative ego is a very important thing, because it drives talent. But it's also a very fragile thing."

It's unclear where he'll land next, but Mr. Roddy is expected to remain chairman of the One Club, whose CEO, Mary Warlick, had this to say: "Kevin Roddy is one of the genuine and brilliant creative minds working in the industry today. His thoughtful leadership will continue to be an asset to The One Club board of directors throughout his tenure as chairman. I am honored to be working with him."

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