Deutsch to Name Equity Partners

By Jennifer Comiteau and Alison Fahey

NEW YORK–Donny Deutsch is considering moving to a partnership structure that would give a handful of his top executives a combined 10 percent stake in the agency, which he currently owns 100 percent of, sources said last week.

‘It’s something that I’ve thought about for a long time and continue to think about,’ Deutsch said last week. ‘There is a group of people here that has been responsible for the incredible growth of this place and already acts as owners. I’m quite sure sometime in the future I will be recognizing that.’ Deutsch played down speculation that the move was imminent and would be accompanied by a name change, possibly to Deutsch & Partners. He also declined to identify the executives who could be in line for the new ‘partner’ title or specify what percentage of the agency, which has billings of $430 million, he planned to dole out.

Sources, however, said those likely to be involved in the partnership include most of the agency’s executive vice presidents. They include: Cheryl Greene, director of strategic planning; Kathy Delaney, creative director; group account directors Val DiFebo and John Mittnacht; Linda Sawyer, director of account management; and Steve Soldano, director of media services. Others who might also be considered for a partner position are senior vice president Bobbie Casey Howell, who heads Direct Deutsch, and Peter Drakoulias, senior vice president, director of business development. The majority of the executives being considered for the partnership positions played a key role in the agency’s win of the creative portion of the Bank of America account in March.

Deutsch’s plan to add a tier of partners follows similar moves at other agencies looking to reward key executives. Some shops, such as Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, and Cliff Freeman & Partners here, do not offer staffers an equity stake, but they have added the title of partner to the company name to illustrate the collaborative nature of their agencies.

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