Gerry Graf Leaves Saatchi & Saatchi, New York

Agency Chief Creative to Start New Shop as Other High-Profile Ad Execs Are Doing the Same

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This story has been updated.

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Saatchi & Saatchi Chief Creative Officer Gerry Graf quit the agency on Tuesday to start his own agency venture.

Gerry Graf
Gerry Graf
Mr. Graf joined Saatchi in 2008 from TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York, where he engineered that shop's award-winning creative for Skittles, Starburst, Combos and more. Since joining Saatchi, Mr. Graf was responsible for high-profile work for Crest, Miller High Life and JC Penney, including the viral smash "Beware of the Dog House."

Mr. Graf stepped into his role at Saatchi after Tony Granger departed less than two years ago to become global chief creative at WPP's Y&R. Calls and e-mails to Saatchi reps and to Mary Baglivo, chairman-CEO of Saatchi for the Americas region, were not returned.

Meanwhile, a representative from Euro RSCG told Ad Age that Con Williamson, the chief creative officer of the Havas-owned agency's New York office, is exiting to fill the role that Mr. Graf will be vacating.

"We thank Con for his contributions and wish him the best in his future endeavors," the representative said, noting that Euro RSCG is conducting a search and plans to have the post filled by the time Mr. Williamson officially exits in July. Both he and Mr. Graf are bound to three-month notice periods.

People close to the situation say Mr. Williamson informed the agency of his plans within the past 48 hours, and the entire agency was informed about one hour ago.

Con Williamson
Con Williamson
Mr. Williamson's departure for Saatchi leaves open yet another high-profile chief creative post, after creative chief Ty Montague departed JWT to start his own venture with fellow top JWT North America exec Rosemarie Ryan.

It's also the latest in a string of recent moves by top agency executives who are leaving big shops in favor of entrepreneurial opportunities. Along with Mr. Graf, Mr. Montague and Ms. Ryan, Larry Woodard, the 25-year agency veteran and CEO of Publicis' Vigilante Advertising, announced the formation of his own agency, Graham Stanley Advertising, earlier this week. Last week, Wieden & Kennedy New York's co-executive creative director, Todd Waterbury, resigned to hang his own shingle.

Mr. Graf said he'll launch his new agency in mid-summer in New York after his contract with Saatchi expires. No details were forthcoming regarding partners, but Mr. Graf joked that he does have a name picked out for his new shop: Graf6.

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Contributing: Rupal Parekh

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