Leo Burnett Chicago Chief Creative Officer Jordan Doucette will be leaving the Publicis Groupe creative agency to head back home to Canada, according to an internal memo from Andrew Swinand, Leo Burnett North American CEO and chief executive of Publicis Communications Center, obtained by Ad Age.
"After much discussion and a lot of soul searching on her part, Jordan Doucette has decided to return home to Canada with her family," Swinand said in the memo. "While we’re very sorry to see Jordan leave us, we respect her decision."
Swinand said Doucette would be joining a "boutique" agency in Toronto, which turns out to be No Fixed Address, an Ad Age Small Agency winner. He said that, since this had been an ongoing discussion, "we’ve been able to jump start our search for her replacement. We’re excited by many of the prospects and look forward to sharing news soon."
Swinand added that Leo Burnett Global Chief Creative Officer and Publicis Communications North America Chief Creative Liz Taylor "has been stepping up in a meaningful way in Chicago" and he will work with her on "ensuring a smooth transition and continued support and cohesion across the creative department."
No Fixed Address confirmed Doucette will be joining the Toronto agency as a partner in April, and that no other creative leadership changes will occur as a result. No Fixed Address Chief Creative Officers Dave Federico and Josh Budd remain in place and will work with Chief Strategy Officer Dino Demopoulos on figuring out how to "divide their responsibilities" with Doucette.
"The chance to join a team and help shape the future of an agency that has already grown so dramatically over the last three years is an incredible opportunity,” Doucette said in a statement. “And we’re already starting with the shared value that putting people and culture first is the foundation of doing great work. And, of course, the fact that NFA is independent truly means our only limitation is our ambition.”
No Fixed Address President Dave Lafond called the hire "a milestone moment. Now that someone of Jordan’s stature and exceptional talent has joined our creative leadership and executive team, it means we are prepared to grow to another level," Lafond added.
No Fixed Address, a 120-person shop founded three years ago, is behind notable campaigns such as “The Public Toast” for Canadian whisky brand J.P. Wiser, plus a heartbreaking Airbnb experience that showed people what it's like to stay in a hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit that is in desperate need of new facilities.
Doucette's departure is the latest in a recent string of senior exits at Publicis (Nick Law, Lisa Donohue, Fura Johannesdottir, Sandra Sims-Williams, Emma Montgomery, Britt Nolan) that Ad Age found in an earlier report are tied to widespread internal confusion about the company’s direction. The shop has also notched some hires early this year, including Kaylin Goldstein exec VP and strategy director; Adriano Matos, executive creative director; Matt Marcus, chief experience officer; and Mike Davidson, head of production.
It also comes amid increasing executive turnover in Chicago. Just today, DDB Chicago Chief Creative Officer John Maxham announced he was leaving for independent agency Laughlin Constable. Before that, Tonise Paul, a fixture at the top of Chicago-based Energy BBDO for 24 years, stepped down from the president-CEO role. Andrés Ordóñez, former chief creative at Energy BBDO, also left to take the same job at FCB Chicago. Meanwhile, FCB Chicago President-CEO Michael Fassnacht stepped down at the end of 2019, amid a broader North American restructuring of the Interpublic Group of Cos.-owned shop.