Ten months into the job as president of Draftfcb North America, Mark Modesto is out amid a top management shake-up. Modesto, along with the agency’s Chicago CFO Bob Mallers and North American chief-of-staff Bill McCarthy, were escorted out of the Interpublic shop Wednesday night, sources said.
Modesto and McCarthy’s positions have been eliminated, while Draftfcb Chicago’s financial operations will report into the agency’s corporate CFO, Neil Miller, on an interim basis.
Michael Fassnacht, worldwide chief strategy officer, was named president in Chicago, a position that has been vacant since Modesto was promoted in October. Modesto’s North America role — in which he oversaw the agency’s New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Orange County (Calif.), Toronto and Montreal offices — was a new position at the shop. This year, Modesto created the chief-of-staff role for McCarthy.
Sources described Modesto, Mallers and McCarthy as a “disruptive troika” trying for a “powerplay” at the Chicago-based agency, the city’s largest.
Modesto began his career at FCB in 1980, making this his 30th anniversary at what is now Draftfcb. (At the time of Draft’s merger with FCB, he had been co-president of FCB Chicago.) He and Mallers were said to be close allies that traveled to work together. “It became clear that during those commutes they were not acting in the best interests of the company,” said a source who also noted, “Unfortunately they have a history of being abusive toward colleagues, literally screaming in the office environment with highly inappropriate comments. They were divisive and created a lot of internal politics.”
A Draftfcb rep declined comment. The three execs could not immediately be reached.
Modesto was known for his close ties to SC Johnson, and his responsibilities on the business will now be assumed by Mark Pacchini, who has been running SC Johnson’s business overseas for the past four years. Pacchini’s ties to the client extend for nearly 30 years.
SC Johnson did not respond to a request for comment.
The agency also promoted Dana Maiman, president, CEO of Draftfcb Healthcare, to Draftfcb’s global operating council, giving her responsibility for all agency operations in New York. Sandy Kolkey, president of Draftfcb N.Y., now reports to Maiman. “The New York agency will remain separate and distinct from Draftfcb Healthcare; there are absolutely no plans to merge the two operations” the agency said in a statement.
See also: “IPG Aligns Dailey With Draftfcb”