Chief Creative Rob Reilly Exits CP&B

Departs Along with Wife, Managing Director Laura Bowles

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CP&B Worldwide Chief Creative Officer Rob Reilly is leaving after more than a decade at the agency.

The MDC agency said that he is leaving to pursue new ventures, though it's not clear yet where he will end up. "It's all still under debate," he said. "I'm in talks with all kinds of agencies and there's nothing I won't entertain -- no size limit big or small. But I will definitely take the thing that seems the most challenging and interesting to me."

Rob Reilly
Rob Reilly

CP&B will not be replacing him and instead announced a restructuring of the creative department in which executive creative directors of individual offices -- Miami, Boulder, Colo., Los Angeles, London and Gothenburg, Sweden -- will have more autonomy.

Mr. Reilly said he and CEO Andrew. Keller have been in discussion about his departure for a while, most intensely over the last six months. "As a creative, the worst thing you can do is stay stagnant. After twelve years at CP&B, this was the time for me to recharge, and for the agency to recharge." In that time, they worked on revamping the creative department to accommodate his leave.

According to the agency, the restructuring was developed by Mr. Reilly, Mr. Keller and Chairman Chuck Porter. Creative departments will have support from Executive Director of Creative Development Evan Fry and Dave Swartz, director of art and design, with the executive creative directors of each office reporting to Mr. Keller, who prior to being named CEO in 2010, was co-executive creative director along with Mr. Reilly.

"We have hired and grown so many great creative leaders, and this seems like the perfect time for me to step away, try some new challenges and put this structure into action. There is always a right way and a wrong way to leave a place that has played such a huge role in your life, and I believe this is the right way," said Mr. Reilly in a statement.

Along with Mr. Reilly's departure comes the departure of his wife, partner and managing director Laura Bowles. During her 16-year tenure at CP&B she's run the Volkswagen account and worked on brands such as Ikea, Burger King and the U.S. launch of the Mini car.

"I am extraordinarily lucky to have Rob and Laura as friends and to have worked with them as partners through some of the most exciting and courageous times at CP&B," said Mr. Keller in a statement.

Regarding the restructuring, Mr. Keller said: "This structure really speaks to the immediate needs of our clients and our vision for meeting those needs. This is an incredibly exciting step in delivering outstanding creative work to our clients."

On the account front, Old Navy and CP&B parted ways in July, and this fall, Arby's, CP&B's client since February 2012, began an agency search. CP&B is not participating in the review.

Mr. Reilly joined the MDC agency in 2003 as a copywriter, later serving as the global creative director on Burger King. He was named worldwide chief creative officer in 2010, the same time Mr. Keller was named CEO. Aside from Burger King, he's also led creative on other accounts including Microsoft, Dominos, MetLife, Old Navy, Best Buy and Kraft. In his twelve years, he's helped propel the agency to creative stardom earning accolades at Cannes, the One Show and others.

Mr. Reilly's departure is the latest in an exodus of creative leadership from the agency since the departure of Alex Bogusky five years ago. Most notably, former partner Jeff Benjamin, who left in January 2012 to become North American chief creative officer at JWT. The agency also recently saw the departures of: L.A. Co-Executive Creative Director Tiffany Rolfe, who joined Co: Collective; her husband Dave Rolfe, former head of interactive production who moved to BBDO; Miami Executive Creative Director Ari Merkin; and partner Winston Binch, now chief digital officer at Deutsch, L.A.

But Mr. Reilly believes that with the new leadership structure in place, things should continue to run smoothly.

"Everybody thought five years ago when Alex left, the place was going to go under. But we've done pretty well without him and I'm certainly not him. The agency will continue to go on and do what it does. I was glad to be part of it."

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