DraftFCB Strengthens California Presence, Taps Rahul Roy to Run It

Interpublic Agency Shifts Focus From Irvine to Los Angeles to Service Taco Bell and Other Clients

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Rahul Roy
Rahul Roy

DraftFCB is doubling down on its new Los Angeles office, naming longtime Yum Brands account lead Rahul Roy as managing director of the agency.

Mr. Roy, who has significant ties to key creative clients KFC and Taco Bell, is tasked with revamping DraftFCB's Southern California operations with Eric Springer -- who is an alum of Deutsch Los Angeles and indie agency Pitch. Mr. Springer was named chief creative officer at DraftFCB Orange County in December. Mr. Roy and Mr. Springer will report to Michael Fassnacht, president of the agency's Chicago office.

The actions signal a move on behalf of the agency to better service its key Taco Bell client, as well as grow its client roster on the west coast. DraftFCB in recent months started moving the majority of its Orange County operations to Los Angeles, where the agency's Taco Bell account is managed. The agency's Orange County office will now effectively operate as a service office due to its proximity to Taco Bell's headquarters, and not one that seeks its own clients.

"Knowing that a lot of great talent lives and thrives in Los Angeles, we wanted to expand our presence there," said Mr. Roy in a statement. "The heart of our agency will now be in L.A. It's appropriate. It's where the ad community lives; so should we," said Mr. Springer.

Mr. Roy -- who is replacing Jeff Fox, managing director of DraftFCB Orange County -- will also oversee the agency's Orange County outpost. He is executive VP and head of account management for DraftFCB's Chicago office, where he oversees the KFC, Dow and Kmart accounts (the latter of which is in review). He'll continue to oversee the Kmart and Dow accounts, though KFC will now be overseen by Mark Bellissimo, DraftFCB's new executive VP-group management director in Chicago.

Among the key hires in DraftFCB's Southern California operations is Michael Bryce, Mr. Springer's former creative partner at Deutsch L.A., who joined DraftFCB in January as executive creative director. A spokesman for DraftFCB said that some employees who currently work in the Orange County office will migrate to the Los Angeles office; DraftFCB has about 45 people between the two offices.

DraftFCB remains the lead agency on Yum Brands' KFC and Taco Bell, though the latter in recent months began working with Interpublic sibling Deutsch, Los Angeles, which produced its first Taco Bell spot for the Super Bowl. DraftFCB earlier this year dissolved its media department as it renewed its focus on digital, CRM and creative duties. Prior to that, the agency lost its Taco Bell media-planning business to Publicis Groupe's Spark.

DraftFCB recently has had even more senior executive changes, naming Y&R exec Carter Murray as CEO Laurence Boschetto's successor in March after a protracted search.

Mr. Fox and Ken Meunch, senior VP and director of strategic planning at DraftFCB Orange County, are both leaving the agency to start a strategic marketing consultancy. The DraftFCB spokesman said that while DraftFCB and parent company Interpublic will not have an equity stake in the consultancy, "we will be one of their clients right out of the gate -- still working together albeit in a different form."

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