Burnett Recruit LeMay Leaves Following Ouster of Welke
CHICAGO–Top Euro RSCG Tatham creative Jennifer LeMay has resigned five weeks after the ouster of Bob Welke, who recruited her to the agency from Leo Burnett.
LeMay, a senior partner and executive creative director who led successful creative pitches for Red Lobster and Midas at Tatham, said creative differences with the shop’s management prompted her resignation.
While expressing disappointment at LeMay’s decision, agency president and chief executive officer Gary Epstein said the agency is moving forward.
“We have a really deep, 70-person creative department with a lot of talent,” Epstein said.
Welke left Tatham as chairman and chief creative officer in early March after a dispute, apparently months-long, with Epstein over the creative direction of the agency. Epstein brought in Helayne Spivak as an interim creative chief and a search is under way for a new creative chief.
LeMay was one of several creatives Welke recruited from Burnett, where he worked for 19 years, and some have anticipated defections. She joined Tatham in 1997.
“There’s more earthquakes to come, but they’re more like tremors,” said Phil Gayter, a creative director who joined Tatham in July from Burnett. “I think it actually opens the door for the growth that was needed here.”
LeMay was a lead creative on Tatham’s two largest accounts: Red Lobster ($88 million) and Midas ($52 million). Representatives of the companies said their relations would not be affected by her departure.
Before joining Tatham in April 1997, LeMay was a vice president and creative director at Burnett.
LeMay said she plans to stay in Chicago and is considering options at both big and small shops. K
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