The Agency’s Australia CEO Will Head Up the Lexus Account
LOS ANGELES–Saatchi & Saatchi is moving the leader of its Sydney, Australia, office to the U.S. to take the reigns on Toyota’s Lexus account at Team One Advertising.
Brian Sheehan, 38, chief executive at Saatchi & Saatchi Australia, will join Team One, El Segundo, Calif., as co-chairman and chief executive officer effective Sept. 1. Sheehan replaces Leonard Pearlstein, who is leaving to re-establish his own shop, the Pearlstein Group [Adweek, July 19].
“Brian was our preferred candidate right from the beginning and we did review three or four” others both inside and outside of Saatchi, said Jennifer Laing, chairman and chief executive officer of Saatchi North America. “He’s a good, charismatic leader, and he’s incredibly focused.”
A 16-year veteran of the agency’s network, Sheehan has been considered “a rising star,” working on accounts such as Procter & Gamble, Dupont, British Airways, General Mills and Kodak. He has 14 years’ experience on Toyota and 10 years on Lexus. Sheehan will head the $260 million Lexus account at Team One with co-chairman and creative director Tom Cordner.
“I hope I can bring strong management experience [to Team One] in diverse markets and situations,” said Sheehan. “I’ve worked on major clients and brands that will allow me to bring a lot to the party.”
A New York native, Sheehan began his career at Dancer Fitzgerald Sample in 1983, which was purchased by Saatchi in 1996. He worked on General Mills and Toyota while in New York and later worked on the account in Japan, gaining a reputation as a strong client handler. In 1990, he moved to Saatchi’s Hong Kong office. Three years later, he was named chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi in Japan.
In 1996, Sheehan became the head of Saatchi in Australia, where the largest clients are P&G and Toyota, in addition to several other local accounts. The office has 120 employees and is the fifth-largest agency in Sydney.
The shop is currently talking to several potential candidates for Sheehan’s replacement.
The Team One search committee was headed by parent company CEO Kevin Roberts and included regional directors such as Laing and Scott Gilbert, CEO of Saatchi’s office in Torrance, Calif. Roberts did not return calls, and Gilbert declined comment.
Saatchi is still looking to replace Joe McDonagh, who was the head creative on Toyota in Torrance. –with Michael McCarthy
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