Merkley Enlists New-Biz Leader

NEW YORK Merkley + Partners has recruited Saatchi & Saatchi worldwide chief marketing officer Rob Moorman to lead new-business efforts at the Omnicom Group shop.

Moorman, 55, will become CMO at Merkley, reporting to CEO Alex Gellert. He fills a vacancy left by the August 2007 exit of Morgan Shorey. Moorman starts on Tuesday.

“He is clearly well experienced. He has a terrific track record,” said Gellert. “And he understands how you market an agency beyond just the new-business piece.”

Moorman spent three-plus years at Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi here, rising to the global role in January after steering new business for the New York office.

On his watch, Saatchi N.Y., led by CEO Mary Baglivo and chief creative officer Tony Granger, added clients such as JC Penney, Wendy’s, Miller Brewing , Ameriprise and Excederin.

Saatchi N.Y.’s success fueled 20 percent revenue growth in the U.S last year — the third straight year of double-digit increases for the shop. It also resulted in Moorman’s rise to the global position.

Reflecting on his decision to leave a large agency network for a single-office New York shop, Moorman said: “It’s very much a personal thing. It is a real opportunity to get closer to the work again. I love the size of the agency. I love the way the agency is structured, because the thing that [agencies] work so hard to do from an integration standpoint gets frustrated because of numerous P&Ls and different companies that you have to work with. I think they’ve got the structure to do all of the thinking in one place.”

Merkley’s top clients include Mercedes-Benz USA, Arby’s, Schering-Plough, Pinnacle Foods, Axa Equitable and Fererro USA.

The shop employs some 260 staffers and ended last year with estimated revenue of more than $75 million.

Before Saatchi, Moorman had a brief stint as a search consultant. Earlier in his career, he was evp, business development at Havas’ Arnold in New York.

Saatchi will consider both internal and external candidates for its CMO, post, according to Baglivo. In the meantime, she and other top executives will lead new-business efforts.