Two Exit Cole & Weber

By Angela Dawson

LOS ANGELES–The two top executives of Cole & Weber’s Portland, Ore., office have exited the shop.

Brian Ribbey, managing director of the office for the last five months, resigned last week. Steve Johnston, a six-year veteran of Cole & Weber and its creative director for the last two months, left several weeks ago. He joined Fallon McElligott as a copywriter in Minneapolis last week.

Both executives had been commuting to Portland from Seattle homes, and cited the tactical difficulty of leaving their families for days at a time as a reason for leaving the agency.

‘I’m looking at putting something together on my own or with partners in Seattle,’ said Ribbey, who joined the agency about a year ago from The Mednick Group in Los Angeles.

Johnston could not pass up an opportunity to work at the much larger Fallon, he said.

Debby Kennedy, president of both the Portland office and the agency’s Seattle headquarters, declined to comment on the two exits, but noted that she will fill in temporarily until Ribbey’s replacement is named.

The departures are the latest in a series of management turnovers that have plagued the $94 million agency.

Kennedy headed the Portland office until her promotion last year.

She moved up when Austin McGhie left the agency to become president and chief executive officer of Young & Rubicam’s San Francisco office.

David Ayriss, who led Portland’s creative department for two years, exited in January to become a partner at Matthaeus Halverson in Seattle.

Cole & Weber was notified by client Silicon Graphics last week that its contract is being terminated.

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