Rice’s Exit a Start; New York Is Said to Be Directing the Changes
CHICAGO–The departure of co-deputy creative director Nancy Rice from Ogilvy & Mather’s office here may be the beginning of a larger reorganization of the agency’s creative department, sources said.
While agency officials have acknowledged that Tom Hall, the shop’s chairman and chief executive, is crafting a succession plan for his eventual retirement [Adweek, Sept. 27], other sources said an overhaul of the shop is being driven out of O&M’s New York headquarters.
New York-based worldwide creative chief Rick Boyko denied there is a “shakeup” under way in Chicago. He did say the agency is looking for Hall’s eventual replacement, and that neither Rice nor her co-deputy creative director, Marlena Peleo-Lazar, had been considered
for the job.
Hall said through an agency representative that he will continue to explore a variety of options for a succession plan as he pulls back from the shop.
Nonetheless, sources pointed to Rice’s decision to join BBDO Minneapolis as a senior vice president and group creative director after just six months at O&M as the first step in a larger shift under way at the agency, which bills about $450 million. One source said Boyko is “drawing the long knives.”
Boyko said Rice’s departure was a mutual decision. “There were problems for both sides,” he said.
Rice said she initiated contact with BBDO Minneapolis president Bob Thacker.
“Bob Thacker and I have a relationship that goes way way back,” said Rice, who grew up in Minneapolis and has maintained professional and personal roots there. “Not only does he have a great business head, but he also fights for good creative.”
Rice had been heavily involved earlier this year in creating the new campaign for Sears,
Roebuck & Co., which was developed in cooperation with Young & Rubicam’s New York and Chicago offices. Neither her departure nor any impending creative shakeup is thought to be client-driven, sources said.
Rice, a founding partner of Fallon McElligott in Minneapolis, joined O&M after leaving a group creative director’s position at DDB in Chicago.