Detente in Granger-Saatchi Standoff

Agency Set to Let Creative Out of His Contract to Join Y&R

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NEW YORK ( -- Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide CEO Kevin Roberts' icy stance toward Tony Granger, outgoing chief creative officer of the ad network's New York office, appears to be thawing.
Tony Granger
Tony Granger

Mr. Roberts' plan to keep Mr. Granger to his strict contract terms at the Publicis Groupe agency until this November (a full year from when he resigned to take on his first global creative post at WPP Group's Y&R) has scaled back now that former TBWA/Chiat/Day creative Gerry Graf has arrived at the agency, according to executives familiar with the matter.

Out within a month
If all goes well, Mr. Granger will be out within a month; lawyers for both parties are working towards a late April exit, the executives said.

Mr. Graf, who has clocked time at Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, most recently spent four years as executive creative director at Omnicom's TBWA, New York, and officially took over for Mr. Granger last month. Mr. Granger had held the top creative spot at the Saatchi office since October 2004.

A Saatchi spokeswoman and Mr. Granger declined to comment, while Y&R Global CEO Hamish McLennan could not be reached for comment.

In a twist, Mr. Granger at his new agency will oversee two of Mr. Graf's former top staffers, Scott Vitrone and Ian Reichenthal. The duo departed TBWA last month to serve as executive creative directors at Y&R.

Agency's reinvention
Mr. Granger and his team will have their work cut out for them at a global network that's attempting a reinvention under the guidance of Mr. McLennan. "I think that the new management is finally solidifying," said one industry search consultant who did not wish to be named. "All they need is maybe one high-profile account win, and people will feel better about them again."

Meanwhile, TBWA, New York, remains in the lurch; it has yet to fill the creative hole left by Mr. Graf.