Marketer and entrepreneur Michael Derek Keeshan died of a sudden heart attack in his Old Greenwich, Conn. home on Jan. 18. He was 60.
Mr. Keeshan was perhaps best-known for his work with Saatchi & Saatchi, where he worked on major accounts including Delta Airlines, General Mills and Burger King. With 35 years of experience in the advertising industry, Mr. Keeshan first joined Saatchi & Saatchi through a merger with Dancer Fiztgerald in 1986. He became one of the youngest presidents and chief operating officers of Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, and was later promoted to chief strategic officer for Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide. While on a sabbatical from that position, he took the time to pursue his own venture.
Using his industry knowledge, he created MagiKbox. With a roster of more than 20 clients, the strategic consultancy focused on offering marketing communication planning and new-business consultations. Recent projects included client work with Johnson & Johnson's global-business units and Vonage Holding Corp. on its agency/holding company reviews.
"It was his baby, what he wanted to do," said his son Britton. "He started this after he left Saatchi & Saatchi -- he wanted to go off on his own. That was his full-time job." There are currently no plans for his business to continue operations.
Born in New York City in 1951, Mr. Keeshan was the son of children's TV host Bob Keeshan, aka "Captain Kangaroo." The younger Mr. Keeshan graduated from Dartmouth College in 1973 and then obtained an MBA there in 1975. In support of his alma mater and focus on business ethics, a scholarship/fellowship is currently being drawn in his memory.
In a statement released to Advertising Age, the family said that he will be remembered most for inspiring and understanding others. "His professional success was supported by an acute understanding of his clients' businesses, human insight, and a profound respect for the creative process. But looking back, his ultimate success shows that this business is and always will be about people -- the people we work with, the people we work for and the people we are."
Mr. Keeshan is survived by his wife, Lynn, and two sons, Britton and Connor.