The Cook County Medical Examiner's office today confirmed that Mr. Tilley died after falling from the Fairmont Hotel, which sits next to DDB's office in the Aon Center here, and that the death had been ruled a suicide.
In a memo to staff yesterday, agency President Rick Carpenter said: "Last night, Paul Tilley tragically died at age 40. The reality of this news is difficult to comprehend. It is such loss for DDB, but also for our industry, our community, and certainly for his family and all who loved him. ... Paul was a mentor to many, a friend to all. His ability to lead, inspire, and yes, entertain will be so greatly missed."
Mr. Tilley, an 11-year veteran of the agency, ascended into the top creative job at DDB during September 2006, replacing Mike Folino, who had quit the post after just six months only a few months earlier.
A 'dream job' but a tough job
At the time, he called it a "dream job," and set about trying to restore flagging growth at the storied agency, whose major clients include McDonald's and Anheuser-Busch.
While those major clients remained happy clients of the agency -- A-B showered DDB with praise after winning its 10th straight Super Bowl AdMeter derby earlier this month -- the new-business gains Mr. Tilley had envisioned when taking the job largely had not materialized. And he made some of his biggest splashes at the shop by sending out memos challenging its creatives to do better work.
He is survived by his wife and two children. Details of memorial services were not immediately available.