Argonaut has named longtime Goodby, Silverstein & Partners executive Robert Riccardi as its CEO, a newly created post.
Mr. Riccardi had been at Goodby for 23 years in a variety of roles, most recently managing partner. When he first joined the agency, he oversaw the account of American Isuzu Motors, then the agency's biggest client. He also played a key role in winning Porsche of North America, the California Milk Processor Board ("Got milk?"), HP and eBay, among others.
"Hunter and I are proud and humbled that a talent the caliber of Robert would be willing to join us in helping to lead Argonaut into the future," said Rick Condos, who is chief creative officer, along with Hunter Hindman, in a statement. They are also among the founding partners. "He is not only the smartest guy we've ever worked with, he's a great friend as well."
Argonaut, a Project Worldwide agency, was founded by former Goodby executives three years ago and initially got attention for a Volkswagen Super Bowl ad. Clients now include MetLife, Hershey, Fitbit and Cricket Wireless.
The move comes as three of the agency's six founding executives have left the agency. Conal O'Doherty and Robbie Whiting left the agency in August to form a sibling Project Worldwide shop called Junior. More recently, President Jordan Warren left the shop, though the agency declined to elaborate on his departure.
The move reunites Mr. Riccardi with Messrs. Condos and Hindman as well as Max Heilbron, another Argonaut founder, all of whom had worked together over the last decade at Goodby, running accounts like Doritos, Cheetos, Chevrolet and Cisco.
Regarding Goodby, Mr. Riccardi said that "now a new management team is emerging there that is fantastic and the work over the past year is as good as it has been in a long while. So, it felt like the right time to move on to something new. I'm really excited to work with Rick, Hunter and the team at Argonaut. They are building a business and a culture that is exciting and new and I really look forward to being a part of it. Rick and Hunter have always been a rare breed of savvy creative leads who understand business as well as what is most current, inventive, and creative in our industry."
Said Jeff Goodby, co-chairman and partner at GS&P, in a note to staff this morning: "He has helped create client relationships that will go on for years after he's gone. ... As always happens when someone of Robert's stature and importance departs, it is a time for others to emerge and fill the void in totally new and interesting ways. In that sense, change has always been good here."