Independent agency MARC USA has tapped former DraftFCB exec Mark Modesto to serve as president of the agency's Chicago office. To work in tandem with Mr. Modesto, Marc USA has hired former DDB creative exec John Immesoete, who will become senior VP-exec creative director of the Chicago office.
The move comes a little over a year after Mr. Modesto departed the crosstown outpost of Interpublic Group-owned DraftFCB, where he spent more than three decades, much of it on the agency's S.C. Johnson account that departed this summer after a protracted review.
"Mark and John are from the Chicago market, and they know it well," said Michele Fabrizi, president of Marc USA. "With backgrounds like theirs, we can continue to drive a strong, mid-size offering."
The moves are part of a larger and more aggressive growth strategy for the Pittsburgh-based shop, which was founded in 1955, has about 200 employees and raked in $27.3 million in revenue in 2010, according to Ad Age's DataCenter. Its clients include Rite-Aid, Macy's and True Value.
Said Ms. Fabrizi: "We've been very quiet, but now we're going to be broadcasting it." As part of the changes in senior management, Jean McLaren, who had been president of Marc's Chicago office for the past eight years, will move into the new role of chief marketing officer at the agency.
Mr. Immesoete is a veteran of Omnicom's DDB, Chicago. While at DDB, he was group creative director, overseeing creative work for Anheuser-Busch and McDonald's, including the long-running and award-winning "Real Men of Genius," later renamed to "Real American Heroes."
After graduating college in 1986, Mr. Immesoete began his career at Leo Burnett, working on McDonald's Hallmark and Nintendo, where he spent nearly a decade before moving to DDB. He left the agency in 2004 to write and shoot a pilot for NBC Television based on one of his Budweiser campaigns, and to pursue independent writing and directing projects. He helped create, write and direct Bud short films like "The Best Man" and "Gas, Food, Beer."
For Mr. Immesoete's part, the appeal for him is that Marc USA is a fully integrated agency that is not hampered by silos. He also said they have "the opportunity to develop a strong Chicago voice."
Industry watchers have for months speculated about Mr. Modesto's career plans, with many wondering if he might hang his own shingle with the help of his former client SCJ. But ultimately, he says he chose to join a shop that's independent and not part of a holding company; in his eyes, these are the agencies that are driving innovation.
Part of what's appealing about Marc USA, Mr. Modesto told Ad Age, is that it's an indy with "a leading-edge mentality to move forward." He added that executives at the shop have "similar feelings on talent, how people should be treated, and being multi-disciplinarians." He also placed an emphasis on client relationships. "You can't run an agency unless you're actually working with a client. You have to be their partner."
Mr. Modesto began his advertising career at Foote, Cone & Belding in 1980 on account management, working with clients such as Kraft and Coors while moving up the agency ranks. It was his ties to the agency's all-important S.C. Johnson client, though, that helped propel his career further forward.
Before being named North American president at Interpublic's DraftFCB, a role he assumed in 2009, he was president of the agency's Chicago office, helping grow that office 25% since 2006, when Draft Worldwide and Foote, Cone & Belding formed DraftFCB. Mr. Modesto, along with Chicago Chief Financial Officer Bob Mallers and North American Chief of Staff Bill McCarthy, left the agency in August 2010.