Update: We hear Universal McCann is laying folks off today. No word on how many, but it’s possibly related to this matter.
Late last week rumor stirred that PHD is keeping the Discovery media account, worth $80-100 million. The agency didn’t see much of anything positive in 2008, so this is clearly a big deal. But like so many advertising stories, this one is a bit crazy — in this case, two of the agencies battling for the business were lead by men who had previously lead the agencies they were competing against.
The first is Matt Seiler who until this summer was the CEO at PHD. He is described by our sources as a brilliant guy, way ahead of the folks at PHD — in fact so far ahead that he had to leave because they couldn’t keep pace. Here’s a comment we got about Seiler’s departure that’s indicative of what people thought internally.
“The place is sinking in quicksand and Seiler leaving is nothing surprising. They lost two key employees last year and the culture died when they left.”
And then there’s Scott Hagedorn, who replaced Seiler, and previously headed up OMD’s east coast region. We hear he might have had a leg up from some of his PHD friends. We’d be willing to bet he was gunning for the spot for awhile (or at least being considered), since according to our sources Seiler couldn’t have left soon enough in some people’s eyes.
Despite the rumors that spilled about PHD, you know, sucking ever since they lost Seiler, you better believe the agency is shouting, “told you so” internally. That place is a friggin’ vault so we don’t expect to be getting any internal memos soon. But in case there’s a doc. lying around somewhere: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.