Y&R Loses CMO Caplan to McCann to Help Grow New Business

Exec Was Also Interim CEO at Onetime Dell-Dedicated WPP Shop

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- McCann Worldgroup CEO Nick Brien is continuing to build a new team around him, and has now plucked Mitch Caplan from WPP's Y&R to serve as McCann's first North American chief marketing officer.

Mitch Caplan
Mitch Caplan
Mr. Caplan, who held a similar same title at Y&R, will help the Interpublic Group of Cos. agency grow new-business opportunities across all of its U.S. offices and help direct McCann's brand message in the marketplace -- which, right now, is presumably one of "change."

In the new position, he'll work closely with Robert LePlae, McCann's North American president.

Winning new accounts is clearly a priority for McCann's stateside operations, particularly for the New York office, which lost a large chunk of business from Verizon of late. The hire of Mr. Caplan comes after McCann's Midwest operations hired former Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners exec Barbara Yolles to boost new business. The dots on the map Mr. Caplan will be responsible for include Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and Canada.

It's unclear when Mr. Caplan will actually be able to begin the job; it is understood he's having conversations about his exit with Y&R and is under contractual obligations with WPP.

Mr. Caplan was intimately involved in Dell's massive consolidation of its global marketing activities at WPP, and was named by the holding company's chief executive, Martin Sorrell, to serve as interim CEO of the dedicated entity it built -- and later dismantled and placed under Y&R -- to serve Dell's needs. Before landing at Y&R in 2007, Mr. Caplan spent time at agencies including Publicis Groupe's Kaplan Thaler Group and Interpublic's Martin Agency.

For Y&R Mr. Caplan's departure leaves a vacancy in one of its most critical positions as the agency in recent times has found itself struggling to prevail in new-business pitches. The shop also lost its head of digital this week, Tarik Sedky, who's starting his own shop.

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