Exclusive: R/GA business transformation group riled as other execs eye the exit
R/GA's business transformation group is getting even thinner: Ad Age has learned that at least one more key player is leaving and two others are said to be eyeing the exit.
People close to the matter say Rachel Mercer, VP and head of strategy in New York is departing the Interpublic Group of Cos. agency, while Colby Dennison, global head of operations, business transformation, and Philip Rackin, VP of business transformation, may not be far behind. It was not immediately clear whether any of the three will join the new venture being built by Vice Chairman and Global Chief Strategy Officer Barry Wacksman, Global Chief Innovation Officer Saneel Radia and New York VP Executive Creative Director Mike Rigby.
R/GA declined to comment, though a person close to the company said it has issued an internal memo about Mercer's departure. Dennison, Mercer and Rackin did not respond to separate requests for comment.
Ad Age reported on Thursday that Wacksman, Radia and Rigby are exiting and have been negotiating with rival WPP Group to back their startup, which will be focused on brand transformation work. It could not be learned whether the group also drew interest from IPG in the venture.
Should Wacksman, Radia, Rigby, Dennison, Mercer and Rackin leave, insiders say R/GA's business transformation group will be all but depleted.
R/GA began building its business transformation practice about five years ago in response to consultancies' encroachment on Madison Avenue. On its website, R/GA says the group works "with all kinds of companies to develop strategies for new digital products, services, and brands that set them apart from their competition." Per the agency, the group has "reimagined primary care for AdventHealth, helped Walmart become an omnichannel retailer, and partnered with PepsiCo to help develop disruptive brands and get them to market faster."
Dennison joined R/GA in 2016 and rose to global head of operations of business transformation in June 2019. Mercer was hired from IPG sibling agency Deutsch in 2018 and became VP and head of strategy in New York in January. Rackin first joined R/GA in 2013, was transitioned to the business transformation team in 2016 and became a VP in November 2018.