Topolewski Wields Ax, Hires 2 in Bid for Change

Gary Topolewski, who was brought in two months ago to recharge the creative product at D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, has made two high-level hires and let go about a dozen creatives.

The cuts, made across experience levels, were part of a “retooling” of the Troy, Mich., shop’s 70-member creative department, agency representative Patrick McCarthy said. “We are working hard to upgrade our creative skills,” McCarthy said.

Joining the shop as senior vice presidents/creative directors are Patricia Breen and Dan Willey, who come from PentaMark and previously worked with Topolewski on Chrysler.

Topolewski returned to Detroit in late May after a year at TBWA\-Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif. He spent 12 years at FCB in its various incarnations, overseeing award-winning creative for Chrysler and Jeep before going West.

Topolewski partners with COO Stan Fields to run the 350-person shop. At the time of Topolewski’s hire, Fields said he wanted the creative level that was achieved for Chrysler and Jeep at FCB at D’Arcy, Detroit, which handles GM’s Cadillac and Pontiac brands. D’Arcy’s recently hired executive creative director for North America, Peter Angelos, has spent substantial time in Detroit working on Pontiac.

Topolewski and other agency executives declined to comment about the overall plan, but McCarthy said Topolewski will make more hires.

While McCarthy said economics had nothing to do with letting people go, spending by the shop’s lead client has been down or flat. GM spent $45 million on measured media advertising for Cadillac from January through April of 2001, down from $85 million for the same period in 2000, according to CMR. Spending for Pontiac was flat.