Executives familiar with the situation said Mr. Curtis was offered an increase in salary and more responsibility following discussions with Wieden President Dan Wieden. Mr. McBride, North American executive creative director for Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day, and Mr. Curtis teamed on the Nike account when both worked at independent Wieden.
Mr. McBride and Mr. Curtis did not return calls seeking comment. A Wieden & Kennedy spokeswoman declined to comment.
The planned startup is expected to shore up its resources with creatives who have expertise in the interactive arena. Meanwhile, talks continue between Mr. McBride and TBWA executives trying to work out a deal to keep Mr. McBride in the fold.