Lee Doyle is stepping down from his role as CEO of North America at MEC. The executive, who joined the agency 12 years ago, will take on a new and yet-to-be-announced role within Group M, the company said in a statement.
Mr. Doyle told Ad Age : "It was a mutual decision in the midst of looking ahead at what 2012 has in store and what I think the agency needs. I'm pretty proud of where we've gotten so far, but there's a need for different leadership as we go forward. It's time to set a new vision for North America."
It has been a rocky year for the WPP-owned shop. Its Toys 'R' Us and Novartis accounts are currently up for bid. This year, parted ways with Activision and with Pizza Hut. Looking forward, it's likely doing everything in its power to hold onto telecom giant AT&T throughout the brand's acquisition of T-Mobile -- the firm recently hired Dennis Donlin from Mediabrands to lead the account.
During the Toys 'R' Us review, Mr. Doyle told Ad Age that the agency was growing some of its business organically but "big new business wins are fewer and farther between."
"Oddly enough, since we last spoke the pipeline has gotten very full with prospects," he said during the most recent call. "We have as many as we can handle. Now we just need to see it through. Filling the pipeline is not the challenge."
With regard to the recent announcement, he said that when he stepped into the CEO role in the first quarter of 2007, the agency had clear global objectives. "My role was much more about executing that vision," he said. "Now I think it's time to set a new vision."
He said that he and the team haven't begun to discuss what his new role within Group M might look like.
Charles Courtier, global CEO for MEC, and Rob Norman, CEO for Group M North America, will take on management responsibility for the MEC North American operations until the new CEO is found.
Mr. Courtier commented in the statement: "Lee has been hugely influential at MEC as CEO for the last four years, and since he joined the company in 1999. Under his tenure the agency has grown by 40%, a stunning achievement. But it's not goodbye -- Lee is committed to the Group and vice versa -- we will see him in a new role soon."