Alchemy CEO Shifts to Advisory Role

NEW YORK Richard Pounder, president and CEO of Alchemy, a Johnson & Johnson roster shop and subsidiary of Lowe, has shifted to a part-time advisory role so he can treat a heart condition that surfaced more than a year ago.

Succeeding Pounder as CEO is Amy Sacks, the Interpublic Group shop’s chief creative officer. Client services chief Kieran Walsh has assumed the president’s title. The moves took effect this month.

“We’re very confident, with Richard’s continued involvement, that the Alchemy team will lead the business effectively,” said Lowe worldwide CEO Stephen Gatfield.

Other top managers at Alchemy, a one-office shop in New York, include chief operating officer John Mercurio and managing director Elliot Dorfman.

The shop, with a staff of about 50 and $15 million in estimated revenue, works for several divisions of J&J, including McNeil Nutritionals, for which it handles Lactaid and Splenda, and Ortho McNeil Pharmaceuticals, for which it handles Ortho and Ultracet. Alchemy’s other J&J business includes brands such as Balmex, Cortaid, Imodium, Motrin, Mylanta and Pepcid.

Pounder, 60, has agreed to advise the agency for at least a year, helping with client management and overall agency marketing. His 34-year career includes senior account management roles at Saatchi & Saatchi and BBDO.

“I’ve had this [atrial fibrillation] condition for about a year and a half and denial didn’t seem to work,” said Pounder, who further described the condition as a “cranky heatbeat” that causes tiredness.

“There’s a lot to be done” at Alchemy, Pounder added, “and it needs somebody with a little bit more energy.”