Larry Postaer Scales Back Duties at Agency He Founded

David Smith Named Executive Creative Director at RPA

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SAN FRANCISCO ( -- Succession plans are beginning to become a little clearer at one of the nation's largest independent shops.

Larry Postaer, who headed up creative on American Honda Motor Co.'s advertising for 27 years, has handed over creative leadership at RPA to David Smith, 46, who has been promoted to the new title of executive creative director. Mr. Smith, who joined the agency as associate creative director in 1990, most recently was senior VP-creative director and had worked on a number of campaigns, including Honda Accord's "Beyond the Road" and La-Z-Boy's "Comfort. It's What We Do."

Mr. Postaer, 69, director of creative services, and Gerry Rubin, 67, president-CEO, founded Rubin Postaer & Associates in 1986 as a fallout from a car conflict arising in the merger of DDB, which had the Volkswagen account, and Needham's Southern California office, which had Honda (and was where the pair worked). The two Los Angeles partners helped build the car company into one of the nation's largest, and in the process built their shop into the nation's fifth-largest independent agency with more than 500 employees.

Held onto independence
Over the years, Mr. Rubin and Mr. Postaer resisted overtures from Dentsu and other holding companies interested in acquisition, citing their interest in remaining independent -- and the fact that Honda wants to work with an independent shop. Meanwhile, another independent, Wieden & Kennedy, which handles a portion of the Honda business in Europe, has had its eye on the U.S. piece of Honda.

According to Advertising Age's Data Center, RPA ranked fifth in revenue among U.S. independents, with 2006 revenue of $105.2 million, up 5.7% from 2005. Wieden, ranked No. 3, had worldwide revenue of $127.8 million in 2006, up 24.2% from 2005.

The agency's plans for succession have not been fully worked out, said Mr. Postaer. But in the interim, an executive committee of 16 shareholding employees has been formed with evolving duties, he said. Mr. Rubin's plans were not known and he was not available for comment by press time.

Mr. Postaer, whose three sons are in the ad business at other agencies but have never worked for him, plans to cut back to three and a half days a week, using his extra time to "work on my Facebook page," he quipped.
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