Creative Shake-up at WestWayne

WestWayne has reorganized its creative department.

Luke Sullivan, 47, the Atlanta shop’s high-profile chief creative officer, is relinquishing day-to-day creative authority to focus on new-business pitches.

“The new-business environment right now is 40 fishermen, all with lines in a coffee cup,” said Sullivan. “I’m needed to get out on the road and get in front of clients. Consumer brands have to do this. Why are we any different?”

Scott Sheinberg, 42, elevated to executive creative director of the $360 million shop last January, now assumes creative responsibility for all of the agency’s accounts.

“Luke is going to be out there breaking down doors,” said Sheinberg. “I’ll be here doing the work he and I stand for.”

Under the new organization, which follows the departure of group creative director Markham Cronin earlier this year, Sheinberg will oversee two creative groups: one headed by Dan Ahern, who supervises the agency’s $90 million Southeast Toyota ac-count, and a second unit led by Al Jackson, a 37-year-old copywriter who arrives this week from crosstown competitor Sawyer Riley Compton. Jackson worked on the Ritz-Carlton, Dow Chemical and CNN NewSource accounts at SRC.

Jackson, recruited by Sullivan, spent five years with Ogilvy & Mather in Singapore and Thailand. His résumé also includes a two-year tour at Arnold in Boston.

The creative management re-structuring is triggered in part, sources said, by chairman Ben West and president Jeff Johnson’s frustration at the loss of accounts such as Denny’s Restaurants and Carnival Cruise Lines. In addition, the independent agency has been unable to advance in reviews (e.g., GoRVing) against national competition—the kind of victories needed to rise above regional-player status.

“We’ve gone through four generations of reinventing ourselves,” said Sullivan, who arrived in Atlanta in 1998 after 10 years at Fallon McElligott in Minneapolis (he worked on the United Airlines and Miller Lite accounts) and astint at The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va. “This is a magnificent agency.”

West and Johnson are hoping that Sullivan’s national reputation—he was twice named one of the top 10 copywriters in America by Adweek—will deliver that message to clients and search consultants.

“This is not a DNA change,” insisted Sullivan. “This is a redeployment of resources.”