CMO Exits RadioShack Amid Final Agency Pitches

Company Says Applbaum's Departure Won't Derail Creative Review

By Published on . 1

Chief Marketing Officer Lee Applbaum is leaving RadioShack amid a creative agency review.

Mr. Applbaum, who joined the electronics retailer in 2008, announced his departure on Twitter last night. "Been a great 3.5 years @RadioShack. Hopeful I had a positive impact on the brand. On to the next one," he tweeted. Reached directly, Mr. Applbaum offered few additional details, saying only that it was a "good time to move on to the next adventure."

Lee Applbaum
Lee Applbaum

Eric Bruner, a spokesman for RadioShack, confirmed Mr. Applbaum's departure and said no replacement had been named. Mr. Bruner also said there would be no impact on the company's creative review, which is still expected to conclude this month, followed by a transition in May. The review was announced in November.

"[We have] sufficient bench strength with marketing VPs on the team to keep the review and other important initiatives moving forward," Mr. Bruner said.

Still, the news was jarring for agencies vying for the retailer's business, given that final pitch meetings are taking place this week.

The review is focused on three finalists: independent Goodness Mfg, Hollywood; WPP's Grey , New York; and Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Erickson, Detroit. The search is being conducted by Select Resources International, a consultancy in Santa Monica, Calif.

Incumbent Butler Shine Stern & Partners was given the opportunity to defend the business, but elected not to participate in the review. That relationship officially ends in May.

RadioShack spent $71 million on measured media in 2011, down from $98 million in 2010, according to Kantar Media. The retailer, which has 7,300 locations, reported net sales rose 2.6% in 2011, to $4.38 billion. Same-store sales, including Target Mobile centers, fell 2.2% last year.

The winning agency will be responsible for strategic and creative development across all marketing channels, including digital, social, mobile, broadcast and print media. Media-buying and -planning duties, which are handled by WPP's Mindshare, are not in review.

Contributing: Rupal Parkeh

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