TBWA Taps Global Creative President Rob Schwartz to Lead New York Office

New York President Robert Harwood-Matthews Will Depart

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Rob Schwartz
Rob Schwartz

Omnicom's TBWA is naming Rob Schwartz, currently the network's global creative president, the new CEO of TBWA/Chiat/Day New York.

Mr. Schwartz's appointment means that Robert Harwood-Matthews, who had been president of the New York office since September 2012, will leave the agency to pursue other opportunities, according to a statement.

It also means Mr. Schwartz relinquishes the global creative president role. The agency is not filling that post at this time, it said.

TBWA is appointing Mr. Schwartz, a longtime TBWA executive who had been in the global creative president role for a few years, in part to bring more global accounts to the New York office and help restore that location's stature in the global network. Current global accounts being run out of New York include Michelin, Accenture and GlaxoSmithKline.

The move comes as accounts like Kraft -- which recently consolidated its roster, taking shops like TBWA and Droga5 off the list -- have left TBWA. The network in 2014 also lost the global Infiniti account to MDC's CP&B.

As global creative president, Mr. Schwartz oversaw creative direction and leadership for global clients like Nissan, McDonald's PepsiCo and GlaxoSmithKline. He also played a crucial role in establishing Nissan United -- an Omnicom global agency made up of members from TBWA, OMD, Interbrand, Emanate and Hakuhodo -- in 2013 to centralize Nissan marketing.

Prior to his role as global creative president, Mr. Schwartz was chief creative officer at TBWA's Los Angeles office, a critical office in the network. He was named global creative president in July 2012 and has been at TBWA since 1998.

"Over the last 16 years, Rob has built tremendous trust both at the client level and internally at TBWA because he listens, acts and most importantly, doesn't wait to be asked," said TBWA Worldwide President-CEO Troy Ruhanen. "He doesn't rely on relationships; he builds them through his energy and dedication to our clients, our culture, our people and our product. That's why Rob Schwartz is the right leader for New York."

TBWA has been undergoing a number of executive changes as part of larger turnaround effort. In July, TBWA Worldwide named Troy Ruhanen is new president-CEO, succeeding Tom Carroll. Prior to his new post, Mr. Ruhanen, a longtime exec at Omnicom sibling agency BBDO, had significant global experience, working at the Omnicom level overseeing the global client relationships and driving collaboration among Omnicom agencies.

Earlier in 2014 TBWA Los Angeles, a crucial office in the network and a onetime creative powerhouse, shuffled the upper ranks. In April, it named Luis DeAnda president of TBWA/Chiat/Day's Los Angeles office, succeeding Carisa Bianchi, who left the shop after 24 years. Mr. DeAnda had been with the TBWA network for 12 years, by the time he was tasked to lead the Los Angeles office. Just after Mr. DeAnda's appointment, TBWA Los Angeles promoted one of its executive creative directors, Stephen Butler, to chief creative officer, a post that had been vacant since John Norman left for Translation in February 2014.

"Leading one of the network's key offices and working on our biggest global accounts over the past years, coupled with what I've learned from my mentors, Lee Clow and TBWA Chairman, Jean-Marie Dru ... has prepared me well to create an office that is a truly global client hub and cornerstone of the TBWA network," said Mr. Schwartz in a statement.

Of Mr. Harwood-Matthews, Mr. Ruhanen said in a statement: "Robert has been hand raiser for TBWA in both the UK and here in The States for the last 12 years. He has never shied away from any task put in front of him and has always believed in the possible. This mindset is what has driven Robert to move in a new direction and will no doubt ensure his success. We wish him the best."

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