DDB CEO KEN KAESS TAKES MEDICAL LEAVE

Agency Offers No Further Details

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- DDB Worldwide President-CEO Ken Kaess is going on medical leave for an undisclosed amount of time, the agency said in a statement.
DDB President-CEO Ken Kaess is taking medical leave; the agency's day-to-day operations will be run by an exectuive committee.

No explanation
The statement did not explain why or for how long other than to say the leave is “expected to be brief.” Mr. Kaess, 51, echoed that in a memo to DDB staff. He wrote, “I look forward to returning soon to DDB.” He did not elaborate on his condition.

A DDB spokeswoman declined to comment further.

During the leave, DDB’s day-to-day operations will fall to Mr. Kaess’ executive committee, which is co-chaired by DDB Europe President Michael Bray and North America President Dick Rogers.

“I have spent a fair amount of time with Ken and am pleased to say I expect him back at work shortly,” said John Wren, president-CEO of Omnicom Group, the parent company of DDB, in the statement.

President since 1997
Mr. Kaess began his career at DDB in 1977, leaving only for stints at Jordan, McGrath, Case & Taylor and New World Entertainment, where he was responsible for the cartoon “Muppet Babies.” Before ascending to DDB's U.S. president in 1997, he ran the Los Angeles and New York offices of the agency network.

He was appointed North America president in 1998. The following year he was elevated to president of DDB Worldwide and chairman of its Worldwide Operating Committee. In January 2001, he took on the position of CEO.

Mr. Kaess is on the board of directors of the American Association of Advertising Agencies and a key figure in the creation of Advertising Week.

James B. Arndorfer contributed to this report.

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