March 29, 2005
MANAGING DIRECTOR LEAVES KIRSHENBAUM WEST COAST OFFICE
Agency Simultaneously Girds for Nigel Carr Lawsuit
Jan. 29, 2004
MDC BUYS INTO KIRSHENBAUM BOND & PARTNERS
60% Stake Valued at $75 Million
Jan. 6, 2004
KIRSHENBAUM FIRES WEST COAST GENERAL MANAGER
New Management Team for S.F. Shop to Be Announced Jan. 9
Nigel Carr, an account planner who worked in the New York office before becoming one-third owner, co-founder and general manager of KBP West, filed a lawsuit after the agency's sale to MDC, alleging the agency's principals tricked him into signing away his rights to his share of the West Coast operation prior to the agency's sale.
Fired before sale
Mr. Carr was fired from KBP West Jan. 5, 2004. A few weeks later, MDC bought a majority share of the agency, at first said to be worth $75 million, but later estimated to be about half of that, approximately $38 million. Mr. Carr alleged he was fired to keep from sharing in the agency's sale.
Mr. Carr's suit originally asked for $6 million, but the claim was later reduced to $2.6 million.
Mr. Carr called the agreement an "amicable settlement."
Lawyers for the agency and Mr. Carr declined to discuss details of the settlement. The two sides issued a joint statement that appeared to try to patch over their differences, which included a bitter exchange in legal documents over Mr. Carr's handling of agency laptop computers. Mr. Carr's attorney said the disputed hard drive from a laptop remains in Mr. Carr's custody.
The statement thanked Mr. Carr for his "assistance in building the company from $12.5 million in billings when he joined to over $400 million in billings at the time of his departure in January, 2004," and called him "one of the premier brand strategists in the business." Mr. Carr, in turn, called Jon Bond and Richard Kirshenbaum "two of the smartest advertising people" he has ever worked with.
Last month, Matt Hofherr, who took Mr. Carr's place at the shop, left for independent agency Swirl. Porter Gale remains managing partner at KBP West. Many of the account and creative duties of the San Francisco office are now being shared with the New York office.