Russo, Gulisano to Replace Littleford; Extent of Cuts Debated
NEW YORK–FCB Worldwide is expected to name Rich Russo and Sam Gulisano to replace executive creative director Ted Littleford, who exited the agency last week.
Russo, FCB’s worldwide creative director on the AT&T consumer business, joined the shop in February from Tierney & Partners. Svp, creative director Gulisano will serve as co-director with Russo, sources said.
The moves, said sources, are a prelude to a round of layoffs in New York. Sources said the cuts could usher in an across-the-board restructuring on the heels of FCB’s merger with True North Communications sister shop Bozell Worldwide.
New York is expected to announce cuts within the next two weeks, with other offices following eventually, a source said, adding that the cuts must be “significant enough to impress Wall Street They’re way overstaffed.”
New York in particular has not “made the numbers in a long time,” said a source. The shop lost significant business this year, including some $40 million in AT&T tasks to Young & Rubicam [Adweek, Aug. 9]. In June, Northwest Airlines moved its Asia-Pacific task from FCB in New York to Ogilvy & Mather.
But FCB has won more business than it lost in 1999; upwards of $150 million. The shop also pulled away $40 million from fellow U.S. Postal Service roster shop Y&R, New York. However, those numbers may well be unimpressive for a shop of its size in what is likely to be another banner year for the ad industry.
A source acknowledged that “discussions” had taken place about reductions, but said that if they occurred, they would only be in New York.
FCB CEO Brendan Ryan could not be reached. New York president Jeff Tarakajian did not return calls.
In September, senior executives said the merger would save about $25 million a year. At the time, TN chief financial officer Don Seeley said there would be “selective reductions” in administrative operations, but did not elaborate. He could not be reached last week. TN chief executive David Bell declined comment.
Some sources said cuts would go beyond New York (which did not merge its office with Bozell), and that the real goal is to pare down and make the entire network attractive for a possible sale or spinoff.
Separately, sources said that Tina Cohoe, president of FCB Direct, is getting restless. Her departure may also be imminent but it is unrelated to the restructuring. She declined comment. –with Trevor Jensen