Rick Kemp Named Creative Director for Toronto Office

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- The Chicago office of J. Walter Thompson is once again without a creative leader, following the departure of Rick Kemp, the agency's executive creative director.

Mr. Kemp, 42, joins Grey Global Group's Grey Worlwide, Toronto, as vice president and creative director. He joins the agency April 6. Mr. Kemp succeeds Marc Stoiber, who moved to the agency's Vancouver office. He will work alongside the agency's president, John Clinton, a former colleague from JWT, Toronto, in the late 1990s.

Mr. Kemp left JWT in February by "mutual agreement" after two years on the job, a period that many observers called among the agency's worst in recent history. He joined the agency to help revitalize the creative as the agency was trying to hold onto accounts from SABMiller's Miller Brewing Co. and Kraft Foods. Those accounts left the agency and in September 2002, the agency's president, Brian Heffernan, resigned. After Barry Krause took over a year ago as president, he and Mr. Kemp butted heads over the creative, according to executives close to the business.

"Rick is an outstanding creative talent and the needs of our particular client base required a different set of skills," said Mr. Krause, who was mum on who might succeed Mr. Kemp.

According to executives close to the situation, Jim Schmidt, the former chief creative officer of Havas' Euro RSCG Tatham, and Steffan Postaer, the former chief creative officer of Leo Burnett unit LBWorks, have been courted for the job.

"I'm looking forward to doing more work and less politics," Mr. Kemp said. "Thompson was a good career move at the time and I wish the office continued success but in the end it came down to a difference of opinion over the creative."

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