Kerstetter to Exit Black Rocket

Bob Kerstetter, the creative director who helped make a little-known Internet portal named Yahoo! a household name, is leaving Black Rocket/Euro RSCG, the agency he co-founded, to pursue a directing and writing career.

Kerstetter, 42, launched Black Rocket in 1996 with partners John Yost and Steve Stone. Yost and Stone will continue to lead the shop, which was acquired last year by Euro.

Kerstetter will spend his time directing, freelancing and working on screenplays, but says he is realistic about his future. “I will be back trying to do something in advertising,” he said. “I’m going to try something for six months. Later, I’ll probably be doing a version of what I’m doing now, but not at Black Rocket.”

“He’s one of our founders and has been a huge part of our success, but he felt that it was time to go,” agency president Yost said. “But he’s leaving when things here are in good shape. It was just time for him to look at other possibilities.”

Before opening Black Rocket, Kerstetter was a creative director at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, working on such accounts as Foster Farms, Sega and “Got milk?” Yost and Stone both came from the former Hal Riney & Partners.

Kerstetter said he initially asked to take a leave of absence, but realized “it wouldn’t be fair to everyone” and chose to leave the shop for good.

“I’ve been wanting to do films since I was 10 years old, and doing directing and the ad thing teases you a little bit,” he said. “But now I want to see if I can make it happen.”

The agency has not named a successor, but is looking for a second creative director behind Stone.

Kerstetter’s departure comes a month after Black Rocket sidestepped Euro’s sweeping reorganization. Euro consolidated 11 shops into two agency networks, each with its own profit-and-loss center. Black Rocket maintains its traditional management structure and still has creative autonomy.

The agency has also worked with Discover Brokerage, and Wired magazine.