Long-time McCann Erickson executive Marcio Moreira passed away on June 18, of complications following heart surgery in Boston. Mr. Moreira, 67, retired in 2011 as vice-chairman of McCann Worldgroup after a career that had started 44 years earlier as a film projectionist in the Sao Paulo office of McCann in his native Brazil.
In his many roles at McCann, including chief creative officer, he was one of the most influential and admired global advertising executives, and forged strong relationships with global clients like Coca-Cola Co., General Motors and Nestle.
For several decades Mr. Moreira was a high-profile figure at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, taking place this week on the French Riviera. Ad executives attending the festival were shocked to hear of Mr. Moreira's death, and reminisced about the Cannes experiences they shared with him over the years: the McCann cocktail party he used to host at the Hotel du Cap, his late-night piano playing, and finally the farewell party at his longtime friend Washington Olivetto's home near Cannes during Mr. Moreira's last Cannes in 2011 before retiring at the end of the year. (Mr. Olivetto is chairman of WMcCann in Brazil).
Mr. Moreira, who worked on Coke for many years, wrote this column for Ad Age, reflecting on the launch of New Coke.
In an internal memo, Harris Diamond and Luca Lindner, chairman-CEO and president, respectively, of McCann Worldgroup, described Mr. Moreira's well-lived life and his impact on the network, its clients and the industry:
"Marcio's storied career within McCann was remarkable in its scope and achievements. He began in 1967 as a film projectionist in McCann Brazil, which led quickly to writer/producer posts as he moved throughout the network to work in London, Lisbon, Copenhagen and Frankfurt before becoming Creative Director for all of Latin America. He moved to New York to head the cutting edge InterNational Team, then the agency's multicultural creative task-force, and ultimately became for many years McCann's Worldwide Chief Creative Officer. Over the years, he has led cross-border creative development on many of our global accounts, won hundreds of awards, and has served as a judge for every major creative festival and as Chairman of the Jury of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.
Marcio—and he stands out uniquely in this regard—was a creative leader who was also the ultimate multifaceted ad and marketing practitioner. For four years in the mid-1990s, in addition to his creative role, he was Regional Director of McCann Asia-Pacific. As a global marketing expert, he served as the leader on many of our worldwide accounts. After McCann Worldgroup was created, he became Chief Talent Officer, a tribute to his understanding of the people and talent side of our business. With the brief exception in the entertainment business as Worldwide Marketing Coordinator for Columbia Pictures, then a Coca-Cola subsidiary, his entire career has been with McCann. When he retired in 2011 after 44 years with the agency, he was Vice Chairman of McCann Worldgroup. Although he became an American citizen, he was still honored overall as Brazil's Advertising Professional of the Year (1988), of the Decade (1990) and of the Century (2003).
And as all of us who knew him are aware, Marcio also had soul. A wonderful raconteur who was elegantly fluent in several languages, he published books of poetry and short stories in Portuguese, and was a recorded lyricist, having collaborated with top-notch jazz and bossa nova composers such as Sadao Watanabe (Japan) and Cesar Camargo Mariano (Brazil). He was committed to giving back to our business, and most recently served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Berlin School of Creative Leadership and as a lecturer-at-large at the Miami Ad School.
Marcio's powerful belief in McCann and in what we could do globally for clients, and his understanding and appreciation of creativity and the role of talent, have all helped to define who we are today. As we know personally, his vision has been a cornerstone in attracting people and expanding our company. Among us, Luca was fortunate to have seen his talents up close as one of the many people who were hired and then mentored by him, and Harris had the privilege of working with him earlier in the last decade.
It's hard to think of a country or client or any area of our business within McCann that has not been positively affected by Marcio Moreira and his contributions, directly or indirectly. He will be missed."