2 Leap Founders Leave Shop

As Leapnet moves farther away from its ad agency origins, founding partners George Gier and Joe Sciarrotta have left the company.
Gier and Sciarrotta, with Fred Smith, left DDB Needham in 1993 to form Leap, which last year changed its name to Leapnet. The firm last week agreed to acquire SPR, an information technology consulting and project company based in Oak Brook, Ill. The deal, which will result in a merger of the two companies, pushes Leapnet CEO Fred Smith’s vision of an Internet and technology-based company. Smith will be chairman of the combined company, while SPR’s Robert Figliulo will be vice chairman and CEO.
Leap was started as a creative- only agency. The Leap Partnership is now one division of Leapnet but has just one client, Anheuser-Busch’s Michelob, which bills an estimated $30 million a year. Sciarrotta was the lead creative on that business.
Gier left for what a representative described as a break when Hardee’s pulled its $100 million ad account from The Leap Partnership last November. Leap Partnership president Tom Sharbaugh confirmed that Gier is no longer with Leapnet. Sciarrotta left the company last week, he said. Gier could not be reached for comment; Sciarrotta confirmed he was leaving but declined to elaborate.
Smith has acknowledged that The Leap Partnership has become a “less relevant” division of Leapnet, maintained for recruiting purposes. Sharbaugh said the creative and strategic background of the Leap Partnership remain important to Leapnet’s Internet clients.
Leapnet puts its combined revenue with SPR at $80 million. Leapnet posted revenue of $9.5 million in its most recent fiscal quarter, although 38 percent came from Hardee’s business.