CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- JWT's top two North American executives are departing the WPP-owned network to start their own agency.
Rosemarie Ryan, JWT's co-president since 2004, and Ty Montague, its chief creative officer and co-president since 2005, have had both successes and setbacks in their tenure at the shop. They are credited with leading a resurgence of sorts in JWT's large New York headquarters, which has seen its creative reputation improve and was bolstered by a major influx of Microsoft business beginning in 2008. But the pair also oversaw the virtual shuttering of JWT's storied Chicago office and the folding of its standalone Detroit operation into WPP's hybrid " Team Detroit." In the past year it has also parted ways with key Kellogg business and saw its JetBlue account go into review.
The name of their new venture and whether they have a founding client is unclear; one client that Mr. Montague is particularly close to is Microsoft since winning the People Ready and Bing businesses. Mr. Montague couldn't be immediately reached for comment.
David Eastman, JWT's worldwide digital director since January 2009, will step in as JWT North America's CEO, reporting directly to the network's chairman-CEO, Bob Jeffrey. In a statement, the network said it would soon name a chief creative officer to partner with Mr. Eastman, 46.
"Rosemarie Ryan and Ty Montague have done an outstanding job during their tenure at JWT New York to modernize the brand, raise the creative reputation and achieve significant growth, and it has been both a personal and professional pleasure having them on my team," stated Mr. Jeffrey. "They have both grown tremendously while at JWT and I look forward to watching them find success in the industry."
"JWT is a 150-year-old brand with a great heritage and a very bright future -- a digital future -- that we believe will see success with David Eastman and his team leading the charge forward," said Mr. Jeffrey.