Y&R Hires Carter Murray to Run North America

Exec's Departure from Nestle Biz a Knock for Publicis

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Carter Murray, a rising star at Publicis Worldwide who ran the network's global Nestle business from Paris, has been named president-CEO of Y&R Advertising North America, starting at the end of October.

Carter Murray
Carter Murray

Mr. Murray, 36 , is taking on a role that was previously handled, for barely a year, by Tom Sebok. In July, Mr. Sebok moved to the post of president-CEO of Y&R New York, succeeding Jane Barratt, who left the agency during a period of client and management turnover at Y&R in the U.S.

Mr. Murray was chief marketing officer and worldwide account director for Nestle at Publicis Worldwide. His departure is bad news for Publicis, which just won the hard-fought global Nescafe coffee business from McCann Erickson. Mr. Murray is believed to have given Publicis three months' notice, as required, but it's unclear when Nestle was informed he was leaving.

David Sable, CEO of Y&R, said Mr. Murray's hiring is "the last piece I needed" after assembling other new talent at the agency.

"The way North America is constituted, it's not any more about geographies, it's about sensibilities," said David Sable, CEO of Y&R. "It's a state of mind. Y&R Chicago is a Midwest sensibility, and retail. New York is more and more becoming almost a virtual center for global pitches and global business. We're pulling in teams from all over the world."

Mr. Murray said that approach -- with each agency having a particular point of view and skill set -- appeals to him. He went to college in the U.S. and has family here, started his career at Leo Burnett in Chicago and said he has wanted to return to the U.S. for several years. He worked for Leo Burnett in Germany as a regional account director, and in London as a regional new business director for Europe before joining Publicis in 2007.

"For me it's like coming home," he said. "The end goal is to make sure we consistently deliver for our clients. The main thing -- the lifeblood of an agency -- is new business. There's a lot of talent, and some new talent David has brought in [so] there's impressive fire power."

Richard Pinder, who worked with Mr. Murray when Mr. Pinder was chief operating officer of Publicis Worldwide, said Mr. Murray took the Nestle business from being Publicis' fourth-largest account, and one that was declining in size, to the biggest account and a more profitable one.

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