NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Three top executives at DraftFCB -- North American President Mark Modesto, a nearly 30-year agency veteran; Chicago Chief Financial Officer Bob Mallers; and North American Chief of Staff Bill McCarthy -- are suddenly out at the Interpublic Group of Cos.-owned agency, according to people close to the shop.
Multiple calls to DraftFCB representatives seeking comment were not returned by press time, and calls made to DraftFCB Chicago's office asking for Messrs. Modesto, Mallers and McCarthy were all answered by the same assistant, who told Ad Age, "I don't know anything, I just know that they are not available this afternoon."
According to people familiar with the situation, the trio of executives was escorted out of the Chicago office last night. Agency staff were called together for an all-agency meeting this afternoon and little explanation was given for the abrupt changes.
It is understood that no laws were broken and there were no financial improprieties linked to their departure. The exit more likely stems from internal politics between the trio of executives and their higher-ups at DraftFCB.
Meanwhile, DraftFCB today sent out an innocuous press release noting among several executive moves that Michael Fassnacht has been named the new president of DraftFCB, Chicago, effective immediately. Mr. Fassnacht was most recently worldwide strategy officer for the agency. The note also mentioned that Mark Pacchini, who had been running Draft's S.C. Johnson business overseas for the past four years, has been given sole executive-management responsibility for all of the marketer's business around the world -- an account that was formerly overseen by Mr. Modesto.
The departure of Mr. Modesto comes only 10 months after DraftFCB named him North American president. He previously was president of DraftFCB's Chicago office, helping grow that office 25% since 2006. As North American president, he reporting to agency CEO Laurence Boschetto and he oversaw Draft's offices in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Orange County, Calif., Toronto and Montreal.
Mr. Modesto began his advertising career at Foote, Cone & Belding in 1980 as a junior account executive on the Pizza Hut business, putting in time with marketers such as Kraft and Coors while working his way up the agency ladder. He is best known for his ties to S.C. Johnson, one of Draft's most important relationships.
Mr. Mallers, formerly controller at Sidley & Austin and director at the Boston Consulting Group, had been the chief financial officer of the Chicago office since 2004, while Mr. McCarthy was previously an account director at the agency and had been promoted to the chief-of-staff post earlier this year.