Goldsmith to Exit Y&R

NEW YORK Gary Goldsmith, North American chief creative officer at Young & Rubicam here, is leaving the agency after 2 1/2 years, Y&R confirmed today.

Goldsmith joined the WPP Group shop in November 2005 as CCO of its New York office and added oversight of North America in June 2006. Then North American CEO Gord McLean hired and promoted him.

But worldwide CEO Hamish McLennan’s November hire of Saatchi & Saatchi CCO Tony Granger as worldwide creative director appeared to make Goldsmith expendable.

Granger has not yet started, given a lengthy notice period in his Saatchi contract, but sources now expect him to arrive in early May. He’ll be based in New York.

Y&R said only that Goldsmith was exiting to “pursue other interests.”

“Gary’s passion for good work inspired our team across North America,” McLennan said, in a statement, “and we are unquestionably in a better place for his efforts. We thank him and wish him all he very best.”

Goldsmith, whose departure comes as Y&R Chicago CCO Mark Figliulo is poised to become CCO and chairman of Omnicom Group’s TBWA\Chiat\Day here, declined to comment. Figliulo is close to finalizing a contract with his new agency, said sources. TBWA\C\D declined to comment.

Since McLennan took the reins of Y&R in June 2006, several top executives have left, including his predecessor, Ann Fudge, who also was CEO of Y&R Brands; worldwide creative director Michael Patti; global vice chairman June Blocklin; and North American chief marketing officer Sally Kennedy. All four left at the end of 2006.

At the same time, McLennan has made several top hires, chief among them Granger and global chief digital officer Tarik Sedky, who returned to Y&R last summer from Atmosphere BBDO. Last spring, McLennan also recruited Mitch Caplan from The Kaplan Thaler Group here to fill the North American CMO role.