Carey Sets Retirement Date but Considers Gig at Parent Company
NEW YORK–Tom Carey, the outgoing president of BBDO North America, is in talks to join agency parent company, Omnicom Group, sources said last week.
Carey, who has held that post for the past four years, is one of the few “outsiders” to rise to the top of the closely knit BBDO management team.
In a memo to the staff last week, BBDO Worldwide chairman and CEO Allen Rosenshine said Carey, 55, was leaving to retire. However, sources said that Carey is talking to Omnicom executives about a senior- ranking position there. Omnicom CEO John Wren could not be reached for comment on Friday.
“Tom has been someone I could always rely on for intelligent advice and a person I could always trust to effectively execute whatever was agreed strategically,” Rosenshine said in the memo. He also described Carey as “an exceptional businessman and advertising strategist as well as a real gentleman.”
Carey joined BBDO from D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in May 1990 as president of BBDO’s New York office. He was named co-CEO in 1994 and two years later, promoted to his current position.
He oversaw BBDO’s North American region, which includes operations in Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis and Canada and claims $1 billion in billings from such clients as Bayer, Campbell’s and Best Foods. In an unusual setup, the New York and Los Angeles offices did not report to the North American president.
Carey is credited with boosting agency revenues in North America from 6 percent to 10 percent in 1999 alone with projections of doubling those numbers within five years.
His installation of management teams on the creative and account staffs helped BBDO in 1999 to land such clients as Carolina Power in Atlanta, Scotia Bank in Canada and Kahlœa in Chicago.
Prior to joining BBDO, Carey was evp of the international division at D’Arcy. From 1985 to 1989 he was managing director of that shop’s New York office.