J. Walter Thompson Atlanta has named Spence Kramer its new CEO, assuming duties that had been handled by Perry Fair, who is leaving, the agency said.
Mr. Fair, who had been president and chief creative officer, in recent months "expressed his desire to return to California," the agency said in a statement. "Fair will be assisting in the transition through May 1."
Mr. Kramer had been global managing director at MDC's CP&B. He was previously at Wieden & Kennedy for seven years, where he was global account director for Nike and later became global account director on the Coca-Cola Co. account, managing work for Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Powerade. Before he worked at agencies, Mr. Kramer was VP-marketing and communications at Virgin America.
The leadership change in Atlanta comes as the global agency is in the spotlight over a lawsuit filed March 10 by its chief communications officer, Erin Johnson, claiming that now-former chairman-CEO Gustavo Martinez had made many racist and sexist comments. A spokeswoman emphasized that Mr. Fair's departure is unrelated to that matter.
Though he was based in Atlanta, Mr. Fair also oversaw accounts and operations for the Dallas and Houston offices, a role he occupied since 2012. He was named to Ad Age's 40 Under 40 list in 2015.
"Spence is an established global business leader with a passion and commitment for creativity," said Stefano Zunino, JWT CEO of the Americas, in a statement. "His client-side experience, management expertise and ability to drive great work make him the right person to be leading our Atlanta office. He will be a partner and advocate for our clients and employees."
Mr. Fair oversaw the shop's successful defense of the United States Marine Corps account, Mr. Zunino said, adding that his tenure included new clients such as Pennzoil and Build-A-Bear Workshop. "He also contributed pioneering ideas like Walter, the start-up agency for start-ups; Pennzoil Mario Kart experience at the SXSW festival; and extended the agency's humanitarian efforts with the Travis Manion Foundation," Mr. Zunino said. "Perry leaves during the most-awarded year in J. Walter Thompson Atlanta's history. He remains a friend to the agency and WPP, and we wish him all the best in the future."