A classic agency switch took place today as Tony Weisman, an industry veteran with more than three decades of agency experience, left his role as CEO of DigitasLBi North America to join client Dunkin’ Donuts as U.S. chief marketing officer.
In the new role, Weisman will serve on the Dunkin’ Brands Leadership Team and report to the chain’s U.S. president David Hoffmann. He will also relocate to Boston from his longtime home base in Chicago.
Weisman began his agency career at Leo Burnett in the 1980s, working in accounts before becoming chief marketing officer at what was then known as Draftfcb Chicago (FCB). He joined DigitasLBi as president in 2007 and was promoted to CEO in 2013.
“Tony is a highly experienced, much-admired business leader with a proven track record of building global brands. Very importantly, he also has a deep understanding of working with franchised organizations, including Dunkin’ Donuts, having led the work on our account at Digitas for the past six years,” read a statement from Hoffmann that also cited Weisman’s “extensive digital acumen and ability to build and inspire teams.”
DigitasLBi has counted Dunkin’ Donuts as a client since winning its loyalty marketing review in late 2011. IPG’s Hill Holliday has been the brand’s creative agency of record for more than a decade.
In an internal memo sent to all agency staff today, Weisman wrote, “This switch to the client side of our industry will test me in new ways, and I hope my years in the advertising industry will help me become the kind of client we all respect. As you may know, I am a long-time Dunkin’ fan, so this is a terrific opportunity for me, both personally and professionally.”
He then described the transition as “bittersweet,” adding that he and his wife would relocate from Chicago to Boston in “the first move I’ve ever made in my life for professional reasons.” Weisman then noted that Alan Wexler, the former SapientNitro CEO who took over co-leadership of the larger umbrella organization Publicis.Sapient last year, would be overseeing the DigitasLBi network in his absence.
“Tony will be greatly missed—as a cultural force, a charismatic leader, and an innovative and visionary CEO who cared equally for the health of our business and the health of our people,” read the agency’s statement on his departure. “At the same time, we are delighted that we get to continue our relationship with Tony, now as a client. Succession plans are in progress.”
Publicis Groupe chairman and CEO Arthur Sadoun thanked Weisman for his “invaluable contribution” to the holding company’s U.S. operations. This morning, the DigitasLBi North America Facebook page also shared a post thanking Weisman for “10 epic years as our leader and champion,” adding, “can’t wait to see where you take Dunkin’ Donuts next.”
Word of changes atop DigitasLBi began circulating late last year. According to observers, the Sapient organization and its leadership have gained greater influence within Publicis Groupe since the early 2016 launch of Publicis.Sapient, one of the holding company’s four major “hubs” that included Digitas, Razorfish and SapientNitro (now SapientRazorfish).