New DraftFCB CEO's Staff Shake-up Proves Talent Is Top Priority

Appointments Reflect Desire to Burnish Shop's Rep for Creativity

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Carter Murray isn't even three months into his new job as DraftFCB's CEO, but he's wasting no time putting his imprint on the beleaguered shop by shaking up its executive ranks.

Just last week Mr. Murray appointed creative veteran Lee Garfinkel CEO of the New York office -- an unusual move, considering agencies typically don't hire creatives for CEO posts.

Carter Murray
Carter Murray

Since Mr. Murray's appointment in September, executive changes include:

Naming former Publicis execs Chris Shumaker and Nigel Jones DraftFCB's North American chief marketing officer and worldwide chief strategy officer, respectively.

Bringing in Morgan Shorey, also a Publicis alum, as senior VP-strategic business development in October.

Hiring Karen Spiegel from Interpublic sibling R/GA as exec VP-global chief communications officer.

Retaining Jonathan Harries, who had planned to leave the agency at the end of the year, as global chief creative officer.

Promoting Elyssa Phillips, previously exec VP-worldwide creative manager, to chief of staff. Ms. Phillips and Mr. Harries will help elevate the agency's creative product and in managing DraftFCB's creative community worldwide.

Blue-chip departures
Those moves, taken together with Mr. Garfinkel's appointment to the New York CEO post, indicate Mr. Murray is keen to place more creative talent into key leadership roles and improve the agency's creative reputation. Since its merger with Draft, blue-chip creative accounts of the former FCB, including SC Johnson and MillerCoors, have left the agency. Another creative client, Taco Bell, has greatly reduced its reliance on DraftFCB.

Lee Garfinkel
Lee Garfinkel

In the months leading up to Mr. Murray's September start date -- and since his arrival -- the agency has picked up a number of smaller accounts, including food-service and uniform supplier Aramark and Raybern Foods. The New York shop picked up an assignment from the USDA, and the San Francisco office picked up the Nature Conservancy.

Prior to Mr. Murray's arrival, DraftFCB's Chicago office retained Kmart's creative account after a protracted review. However, it lost its Newell Rubbermaid account, which includes the Sharpie brand, and the remainder of its U.S. Postal Service business, which included retail, promotion and point-of-sale. DraftFCB was the No. 6 largest U.S. agency, with revenue of $443 million, down from No. 3 in 2011, according to Ad Age DataCenter. It is the 13th largest global agency network, with $1.3 billion in revenue.

The New York outpost, rather than Chicago, is now the flagship for the network. Mr. Murray said he has no plans to shake up Chicago's senior ranks.

"They are picking up new business and doing some incredible work for our clients," he said in a statement.

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