Deutsch Lifts L.A. Execs to North American Roles, Names Sawyer Chairman

Michael Sheldon, Pete Favat, Winston Binch Among New North American Execs

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Linda Sawyer, Michael Sheldon and Donny Deutsch
Linda Sawyer, Michael Sheldon and Donny Deutsch

Interpublic's Deutsch is promoting its Los Angeles executive team to oversee North American operations as part of its long-term growth strategy.

Deutsch Los Angeles CEO Michael Sheldon is now CEO of Deutsch North America, a role that will make him responsible for both Deutsch offices, New York as well as L.A.

North American CEO Linda Sawyer will become chairman, and current chairman Donny Deutsch will be stepping away from the agency in the coming months to pursue a TV show on the USA Network.

Val DiFebo, CEO of Deutsch's New York office, will continue in her role. Deutsch L.A.'s chief operating officer, Kim Getty, will become president of the Los Angeles office, overseeing day-to-day operations.

The newly created North American roles also include posts for L.A. Chief Creative Officer Pete Favat, who is being promoted to North American chief creative officer, and L.A. Chief Digital Officer Winston Binch, who will now be North American chief digital officer. Both will retain their roles overseeing creative and digital in Los Angeles, but they'll also be responsible for Deutsch's overall creative and digital strategies. Jeff white, senior VP-director of business development at Deutsch L.A., is also being promoted to executive VP-chief marketing officer of Deutsch North America.

Ms. Sawyer said Mr. Sheldon is the right person for Deutsch's future because he built Deutsch L.A. from a handful of employees when it opened 17 years ago to one of the largest shops on the West Coast. She added that he has been able to attract and retain top-tier talent, go after new business and move toward better integration among ad disciplines.

The moves follow an exceptional new-business year for Deutsch L.A., which brought in the a hefty portion of Deutsch's 2014 wins, including Pizza Hut and Sprint creative duties as well as digital work on Taco Bell. Deutsch New York won accouns such as Sherwin Williams, Jagermeister and Galderma's Benzac.

Mr. Sheldon said the changes are partly designed to unify Deutsch's offering. New York, for instance, he said, has a strong data and analytics capability, while Los Angeles has built up its Hispanic-marketing expertise and its digital business, which is about 35% of the agency's revenue now. Digital now comprises nearly 200 employees out of about 600.

Much of Deutsch's executive team has been with the agency for a long time, Ms. Sawyer noted. She has been there for 25 years, Mr. Sheldon opened the Los Angeles office 17 years ago, Ms. Getty has been there 14 years and Ms. DiFebo has been there 22 years.

Mr. Deutsch, whose father launched the agency, joined in 1980 and has been chairman since 2005, largely in a non-active role. He'll formally end his relationship with Deutsch at the end of March. In a statement, Mr. Deutsch said Ms. Sawyer had been a formidable force for 25 years. "And as CEO for the past nine years she has managed with an iron fist in a velvet glove, effortlessly guiding the agency's growth and successes," he said. "I couldn't be more proud and excited about the future of the agency that my dad founded 45 years ago."

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