A triumvirate of top R/GA executives—Vice Chairman and Global Chief Strategy Officer Barry Wacksman, Global Chief Innovation Officer Saneel Radia and New York VP Executive Creative Director Mike Rigby—are planning to start their own agency, Ad Age has learned.
That news is stunning enough in itself, but there's more: People close to the matter say the startup has been negotiating with rival WPP Group to back the new shop. It could not be learned whether Wacksman and his group also drew interest from IPG in the venture.
WPP declined to comment. IPG did not return a call for comment and R/GA declined to comment. Wacksman, Radia and Rigby also did not return separate requests for comment.
The most significant of the three departures is Wacksman, who has been with the agency since 1999 and is one of its most public faces. According to R/GA's website, Wacksman joined R/GA when it had fewer than 50 employees; today it has more than 2,000. Radia, who leads business transformation for the shop, joined in 2016 after founding brand incubator Finch15 following his departure from BBH. Rigby signed on in 2014 and was elevated in January of last year to global head of brand, senior VP and executive creative director.