McGarryBowen has named Pat Lafferty its U.S. president. Lafferty, the president at Translation since the fall of 2016, assumes the responsibilities that had been handled by former CEO Simon Pearce, who recently joined JWT in the newly created role of North American CEO. Lafferty's appointment is effective around June 1.
"It's a great opportunity and I'll have the ability to have greater impact with McGarryBowen's three offices and its recent acquisition of [digital shop] Swirl," says Lafferty.
The shop suffered a rough 2015, including the loss of its two largest accounts—JPMorgan Chase and Verizon Retail—as well as executive departures. But McGarryBowen turned itself around in 2016, earning the title of Ad Age's 2017 Comeback Agency of the Year and appearing on Ad Age's 2018 Agencies to Watch list. It grew revenue 5% last year to $158 million and won business with Planters, Burt's Bees and Subway plus assignments from longtime clients Crayola and Kraft Heinz. The shop also picked up a major account last year, the creative and strategy duties for American Express' new global brand platform.
Lafferty will report to Nick Brien, CEO of the Americas for Dentsu Aegis Network, with whom he previously worked with at McCann. He also previously worked with McGarryBowen U.S. Chief Creative Officer Ned Crowley at Leo Burnett, which is where Lafferty had his first ad agency gig after serving for seven years as an Army Officer.
While Lafferty still has to get his feet fully into the role this spring before making any big decisions, he says he intends to pull together McGarryBowen's creative and strategic expertise with the wide range of marketing services across the Dentsu Aegis Network.
Translation plans to name a successor to Lafferty. "At Translation, we are building the agency of the future and our new president will be charged with continuing to drive the convergence of data, culture and storytelling," founder and CEO Steve Stoute said in a statement.
Before joining Translation, Lafferty was North American CEO of BBH. He previously was chief operating officer at McCann and CMO of the Travel Channel.