NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- GSD&M Idea City founder Roy Spence is handing the title of CEO to agency veteran Duff Stewart, the Austin-based agency announced today.
Mr. Spence will retain his role as chairman of the agency he founded in 1971, but is vacating the CEO seat to focus his energies on setting up the Purpose Institute, slated to open its doors later this year. Last summer, Mr. Spence said he planned to spin what is currently a department of GSD&M off into a stand-alone consultancy under Omnicom Group. The institute is aimed at helping brands and businesses find their higher purpose.
Mr. Spence -- a frequent public speaker and former adviser to the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign said -- has spent much of this year promoting his book "It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For." Asked whether the management transition is related to Mr. Spence's own political aspirations, a spokeswoman would say only, "There are no plans at this time."
Two decades at GSD&M
"Duff Stewart is exactly the right person to lead our agency into its very bright future," Mr. Spence said in a statement. "He lives our core values, is driven by our purpose, and he has earned the trust of everyone at our agency."
Mr. Stewart has spent nearly two decades at GSD&M, largely as an account director on clients such as Fannie Mae, the Steel Alliance and United Health Care. He has been president since August 2007. Most recently, his title was president-chief operating officer.
GSD&M still remains without creative leadership, after it let go former top creative Mark Taylor in May.