Schmidt Leaves Euro RSCG Tatham

CHICAGO Euro RSCG Tatham Partners chief creative officer Jim Schmidt said he has resigned from the Havas-owned agency.

His departure comes as the Chicago shop awaits word on two reviews in which it is a finalist: the $30 million national sports utility vehicle safety campaign and Edward Jones’ $25-30 million account.

It also comes as the shop remains on the bubble with its $100 million Red Lobster account. The client’s marketing chief has held meetings with several other shops about the business, according to sources.

Schmidt came to Tatham in September 2000 when his former agency, McConnaughy Stein Schmidt Brown, was acquired. The purchase was expected to give Tatham creative panache, but that never really panned out, most notably with Red Lobster. Several campaigns produced for that client have come and gone, including a short-lived effort anchored by a “Chef Ned” character, and most recently, work tagged “Share the love” that broke last July but was scrapped at the end of the year.

Tatham has been hit by several executive defections in the last year, including new business director Jodi Coppernoll and group account director Timothy Mauery, who ran the Red Lobster business for less than a year after joining the shop in November 2002.

Schmidt has been in talks with other Chicago shops and has also considered launching his own agency as he weighed whether to renew his Tatham contract, which has lapsed. He said on Thursday that he has not decided what he will do next.

Tatham Partners CEO Gary Epstein could not immediately be reached.