It took seven months, but Jeff Brooks wanted to make sure he had the right partners.
Brooks, who is relaunching the New York office of M&C Saatchi as CEO, hired Pierre Lipton as chief creative officer in August and now has found a chief strategy officer: Sveta Doucet. Lipton started last month and Doucet joins in November.
Most recently, Doucet, 36, was head of strategy at Profero, a digital shop in New York. Before that, her planning experience came largely via more traditional agencies, including Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners and Taxi. Now, she's charged with building the planning department at M&C, which reopened in March with the arrival of Brooks, former co-CEO at Euro RSCG in New York.
"She had everything I was looking for," said Brooks, who cited Doucet's savviness in the digital space as well as her desire and stamina to be an entrepreneur.
As with Lipton, Brooks liked her hybrid background. Lipton's last job was as executive creative director of the San Francisco office of AKQA, but before that he held senior creative roles at BBDO and TBWA\Chiat\Day. Likewise, Brooks has both traditional brand building and digital marketing experience.
The trio collectively will oversee units for advertising, public relations, mobile marketing, sports/entertainment marketing and brand consulting in New York. About 50 staffers work in those units, which roll up into a single profit and loss statement under the umbrella of M&C Saatchi Group.
The advertising unit is relatively small, with about a dozen staffers and just three accounts, two of which are shared with other M&C offices overseas: Etihad Airways and FTI Consulting.
Etihad, for example, is run out of London, with Abu Dahbi and New York handling segments of the business. New York is the global lead on FTI. Brooks declined to name the other account.
M&C, launched in the wake of Charles and Maurice Saatchi's divorce from Saatchi & Saatchi in 1995, now has 26 offices worldwide, some of which comprise a bundle of specialty units like New York, while others feature a particular discipline. The office in Milan, Italy, for example, is primarily a digital agency.
The first era of M&C Saatchi, New York, ended quietly in 2008, after the office, under several different management lineups, tried and failed to significantly break through. This time, Brooks is more optimistic, even though New York needs another agency like it needs another restaurant.
Why is he so bullish then? Well, he's essentially starting from scratch, unencumbered by legacy structures or entrenched managers. Also, the market has changed with startups like Barton F. Graf 9000 showing significant growth in relatively short periods of time.
Yet, success doesn't happen overnight. It has taken Droga5, for example, a good six years to become a significant player in the U.S. In Brooks' mind, it will take at least three years for M&C to make its mark. At least now, he has a team in place.