CL, McHugh Part Ways

CHICAGO Carmichael Lynch is parting with its chief creative officer, Peter McHugh, according to the shop. McHugh joined the Interpublic Group agency in October 2004 from 180 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

“Peter’s a talented guy with proven creative abilities,” said John Colasanti, president of the Minneapolis shop, in a statement. “Ultimately, however, he isn’t a good fit with where this agency is going.”

Colasanti was not available for further comment. McHugh, 49, could not immediately be reached.

As the agency searches for a new chief creative officer, CL’s three executive creative directors—Jim Nelson, Tim Brunelle and Andrew Clarke—will lead the shop’s creative department. Brunelle and Clarke were hired by McHugh.

Though the shop’s reel improved under McHugh’s guidance (including recent campaigns for A.G. Edwards, Jack Links jerky and Tractor Supply Co.) , morale in the creative department had been dropping, sources said. Creative turnover also had become cause for concern.

Last November, the shop hired Scott O’Leary and Ryan Peck from crosstown rival Fallon as creative directors, but they returned to their previous agency shortly thereafter. More recently, group creative director Hans Hansen and senior writer Eric Sorenson said they were leaving to join Fallon.

Last month, chairman and former chief creative officer Jack Supple—who helped hire McHugh as his successor—departed, saying he had moved into a position that was no longer professionally satisfying.

“We’re fortunate to have such strong talent in place to lead the creative team,” Colasanti said in the statement. “We won’t miss a beat.”

CL has an estimated $425 million in overall billings. Along with A.G. Edwards, its key clients include Harley-Davidson, Northwest Airlines and Porsche Cars North America.