IHOP Exec to Exit

LOS ANGELES Just days after completing a review in which VitroRobertson was hired for creative chores on IHOP’s $80 million ad account, client director of marketing Craig Silver is departing for a post at California Pizza Kitchen, per sources. His title at CPK could not immediately be determined.

Silver declined comment. Other IHOP officials could not be reached.

MDC Partners’ VitroRobertson in San Diego overcame Interpublic Group-owned incumbent McCann Erickson here and independent startup Tactic in Santa Monica, Calif., to win the business.

Silver spent six years at the Glendale, Calif.-based restaurant chain and had worked closely with McCann’s ecd Richard Mahan on its advertising, which was lauded by IHOP svp, marketing Carolyn O’Keefe, even as she switched agencies. (Mahan left McCann this summer to launch Tactic.)

“Our current advertising resonates with our guests and has played a significant role in our 19 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth,” said O’Keefe, in a statement. “Working with VitroRobertson, we’ll continue to drive sales by evolving the current ‘Come hungry. Leave happy’ campaign to a new level of success.”

According to sources, Silver will leave the company at the beginning of 2008 and IHOP has made no decision regarding his replacement.

Sources said O’Keefe would, at least in the interim, act as the liaison with VitroRobertson, with whom O’Keefe worked when she was with Baskin-Robbins, an account the shop lost in October 2006 after O’Keefe parted with that company.