The move is a big coup for BBDO. Mr. Lubars is seen by marketers and staff as a change agent, with a record for innovative, nontraditional marketing work. His recent credits include masterminding the celebrated BMW short-films project. One of his behind-the-scenes achievements for Fallon has been shifting compensation models to better reward the agency for its successful ideas.
Mr. Sann, the man Mr. Lubars replaces, has already left the agency, according to BBDO executives. He was a more traditional creative force, but nonetheless a stalwart at BBDO, which he joined in 1970 as a copywriter. Since then Mr. Sann has won 10 Gold Lions at Cannes.
"Ted has been responsible for some amazing work in his time at BBDO. We salute and thank him for this and wish him well," said Andrew Robertson, president-CEO of BBDO Worldwide.
Mr. Lubars has taken a strong global leadership role at Fallon, since joining in 1998 from BBDO, Los Angeles, and his departure is a blow for the Minneapolis-based agency.
'The only job'
Mr. Lubars called the BBDO position "the only job I would leave Fallon for." He went on to say that part of the reason he is leaving is to return to a "company I really love and to go to New York and work" and "play on an international stage."
He wouldn't discuss his plans for BBDO. "The infrastructure is there and the people are there" to do great work.
Mr. Lubars is expected to stay through the summer. Agency Chairman Pat Fallon is expected to take a more active role in the agency until a replacement is found.
"This is not good news and this is not anything I wanted," Mr. Fallon said. "But we're very fortunate to be in great shape."