GSD&M Idea City Top Creative Mike Wilson Leaves After 7 Months

Agency Must Now Draw New Succession Plan

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Omnicom Group's GSD&M Idea City is starting out the new year without a chief creative officer. Mike Wilson, who was the shop's first CCO, is leaving after barely seven months in the role, President-CEO Duff Stewart announced to the Austin-based agency today.

In a note sent to staffers this afternoon, Mr. Stewart noted that "Mike and GSD&M were not a good fit" but he wished him success in the future and noted his impressive credentials.

Representatives for the agency declined to comment on the reasons for the split, but it's quite a turnaround from what Mr. Stewart said at the time of Mr. Wilson's hire in June: "Great work is the lifeblood of an agency, and as we work to grow our clients' business and compete in a changing environment, Mike will be a vital part of our creative vision for clients and for our agency ... He's a great fit with our agency. From the moment we met him, he felt like one of us."

Mr. Wilson's exit comes on the heels of Idea City's parting of ways with two large accounts in the back-half of 2010, BMW's global creative and MasterCard's media. It did add one with Pulte Homes, though.

Before Idea City, Mr. Wilson was executive VP-CCO at Dentsu America and spent time at WPP's Ogilvy & Mather. Earlier he worked on Wall Street.

Idea City's founders -- who along with Mr. Stewart includes well-known ad exec Roy Spence -- had named Mr. Wilson to the post in what was intended to be a succession plan for the 40-year-old agency. Now, it will have to go back to the drawing board to find a top creative.

"Finding the right creative leader for this agency is a vital part of the transition to our next generation of leaders. And while it may be a challenging search, it's one to which I'm committed," Mr. Stewart's memo to staff today said.

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