TPG Chief Steps Down To Focus On Nissan

Tom Patty is giving up his night job to concentrate on his day job as president, worldwide Nissan account director, at TBWA Chiat/Day.
Patty, founder and chairman of the agency’s retail spinoff, The Persuasion Group, said he is surrendering his operational duties at TPG to “devote 110 percent of my efforts to Nissan.”
Creative director Tony Stern will likely be promoted to president of TPG, and could pick up some of Patty’s duties, said sources. Patty, who will continue to serve as chairman, would not confirm that Stern will be promoted. “He might,” Patty said. “It’s too early to say.”
The retail spinoff, headquartered at TBWA C/D’s Venice, Calif. offices, was founded in 1996 by Patty, Stern, business development director Kim Haskell and account director Monte Zator. TPG now claims roughly $60 million in billings from clients such as Bridgestone/Firestone, 24 Hour Fitness and Home Savings of America. The unit reports to TBWA International chairman Bill Tragos.
Patty, who had previously referred to TPG as his “night job,” said his growing global duties on Nissan spurred the move. After adding eight more countries in 1997, the agency now handles ad duties for the automaker in 26 countries. Nissan generates roughly half of TBWA C/D’s income.
As expected, the agency’s work for Nissan is focusing more on new models, such as the Altima and Frontier truck, and less on image [Adweek, Oct. 13]. Mr. K, star of the image ads, will continue to appear, “but probably more from a branding standpoint,” said a Nissan representative in Gardena, Calif.