Mark Dowley, the chief of William Morris Endeavor Marketing, has left the company to join one of the agency’s clients, Baltimore-based sportswear manufacturer Under Armour. On Feb. 1, Dowley will become evp of global brand and president of international, reporting to the company’s founder and CEO Kevin Plank.
As part of the change, William Morris Endeavor Marketing, which is owned by Interpublic, is being sold to agency executive vice presidents Susan Furlong and Charles DeLana, sources said. Dowley, named CEO at Endeavor in 2003, is expected to be an investor in the agency as part of that transaction even as he plays a client role. The agency, with around 20 staffers, also works for clients like American Express, Revlon and Coca-Cola. WMEM clients are said to have approved the change, per sources.
Dowley (pictured) did not return a call for comment; Furlong, DeLana and IPG reps could not be reached immediately.
In 2005, the holding company initially acquired a 40 percent stake in Endeavor Marketing, then an offshoot of the Endeavor talent agency; in 2008, IPG bought the remainder of the shop. Dowley’s ties to IPG extend to his past roles as CEO of Interpublic Sports and Entertainment Group, vice chairman of Interpublic’s McCann Erickson Worldgroup and CEO of its Momentum Worldwide unit.
In 2009, William Morris was merged into Endeavor with that agency’s top execs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell emerging as co-CEOs of the new entity. The IPG agency licensed the William Morris Endeavor name for consistency, but it is not known if that will be renewed going forward, sources said. (IPG has never owned any stake in William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, and Dowley did not work there.)
In recent months there has been speculation about Dowley’s future at WME after Emanuel, co-CEO of WME Entertainment, launched a brand marketing venture with former Omnicom Group vice chairman Michael Birkin, previously in the running for CEO at the holding company. Birkin left to form Red Peak Group in early 2010, where he is chief strategist. That brand consulting and experiential group was acquired by WME Entertainment for Emanuel’s new marketing initiative.
While Dowley last summer helped introduce Emanuel to players in the ad world, it did not appear he would play a role in the new agency, code-named Lverage, sources said. (WME Entertainment has yet to reveal the agency’s actual name.) In addition to Birkin, Red Peak CEO Jay Lenstrom, former CEO of Omnicom’s Radiate Group, is part of the new effort.
WME also acquired the Red Interactive Agency in Santa Monica, Calif., and forged ties with Marc Byron, founder of Trivergance Business Resources, a direct marketing firm in Fort Lee, N.J., that remains a separate company.