JWT ‘Agressively’ Seeking to Retain Ryan

CHICAGO — J. Walter Thompson is “aggressively” seeking to retain Chicago executive creative director Dennis Ryan, who is in line for the top creative post at the new Omnicom unit being launched to handle Pepsico business, an agency representative said.

Ryan has been rumored in position for the Omnicom job for several weeks, but earlier this month denied he was leaving JWT. Ryan, 38, who also heads JWT”s worldwide creative council, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. Omnicom and DDB declined comment.

Ryan spent 13 years at DDB before jumping to JWT in June 1997.

Former Foote, Cone & Belding, Chicago, president Brian Williams, who is heading up the as yet unnamed Omnicom unit, has been leading a serach for a creative director for several weeks. The original target was FCB’s Jonathan Harries, but he turned down the post after being giving a promotion to Chicago chairman and worldwide creative director at FCB.

The unit will handle about $350 million in Pepsico business including Gatorade and Tropicana. At least 52 FCB employees who worked on the Quaker Oats business have taken jobs with the agency.