LOS ANGELES Joseph McCarthy is joining Publicis USA in New York as chief executive, replacing Gill Duff, the agency confirmed today.
McCarthy joins the shop from Johnson & Johnson, where he was vp, worldwide advertising and marketing communications. He is expected to start Aug. 18 and report to Susan Gianinno, chairman and CEO of Publicis Worldwide’s U.S. operations. McCarthy will also join Rob Feakins, president and CCO, on both the agency’s U.S. leadership team and on the network’s worldwide management council.
Gianinno said Duff’s next position within Publicis has not been determined. She said he is likely to take what the agency termed “a major client assignment.”
McCarthy said that his goal was to build the agency into the “most relevant, idea-oriented and integrated offering” based on his knowledge of “what’s missing in today’s market from a client perspective. There’s a lot of talk about the future. It is time to stop talking and act now.
“Over the last five years, there has been a lot of marketing conferences and discussion on digital, analog and where technology is going to take us,” McCarthy added. “There’s a disproportionate amount of discussion, yet a lot of brands are not taking full advantage of what’s available today.”
At J&J, McCarthy oversaw the company’s agency relationships with a roster that includes Omnicom Group’s BBDO, Atmosphere/BBDO, DDB and Tribal DDB; Interpublic Group’s Deutsch, Lowe and R/GA; WPP Group’s JWT; independent Mother and Taxi; and specialty healthcare shops such as Anderson DDB, GSW, Cline Davis Mann and CommonHealth. Publicis is not currently on the J&J roster. J&J spent $1.3 billion advertising in 2007, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.
McCarthy’s client and agency background includes co-founding McCarthy Mambro Bertino, Boston, in 2001. Before that, he was head of global advertising at Nike, Beaverton, Ore. He started his ad career with 13 years at Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, where he rose to svp and worked on J&J as well as Procter & Gamble, Sara Lee and Philips.
McCarthy characterized returning to the agency side “a difficult decision. I certainly wasn’t looking for a position like this, but liked the challenge and level of responsibility. The Publicis brand has lot of potential to grow, and as I got to know Rob Feakins more, I felt we’d make a great team. The culture I work in and the people I work with has always been important to me.”
“Even if Joe hadn’t had the great client experience he would have been a top contender because of his creative orientation,” said Gianinno. “Add to that a major multifaceted worldwide client, working with some of the best agencies of the world, and what’s not to love?”