Managing Director Had Been Brought In to Solidify GM Business
DETROIT–Gunnar Wilmot will exit his post as managing director of McCann-Erickson Worldwide after three years to return to Europe, the agency confirmed last week.
A successor to run the agency’s Troy, Mich., office, anchored by General Motors’ $250 million Buick account, will be named within a month, said Susan Irwin, senior vice president and director of corporate communications at McCann in New York. The replacement is not expected to come from inside the Detroit operation, sources said.
Wilmot, who was brought in from the agency’s Frankfurt, Germany, office to buttress the GM account team in Troy, will take a high-level McCann position in Europe, Irwin said. She characterized the move as an advancement.
Wilmot could not be reached for comment. GM executives were told of his departure last week.
Wilmot was brought to Detroit partly in an effort to save McCann’s $70 million GMC account, which it lost a year later to sister Interpublic Group agency Ammirati Puris Lintas. Agency and GM sources said Wilmot arrived too late to rescue it. One source speculated his departure indicates the agency feels stabilized in Motown after several tumultuous years.
Wilmot characterized the GMC loss as a “catalyst for change,” bringing in Kent Aitchison as executive creative director when the GMC business was departing. Aitchison, however, subsequently returned to Young & Rubicam, Detroit. Jonathan Cranin, executive vice president and deputy creative director at McCann, New York, took on additional duties as McCann’s chief creative officer for its U.S. GM business starting in the spring of 1998. Another New Yorker, Kevin Moehlenkamp, came to McCann from BBDO for the ECD post shortly after Cranin’s involvement began.
The agency continues to handle national and regional advertising for GM’s Buick division.
Agency successes under Wilmot include picking up HotJobs.com, for which the shop is working on a second consecutive Super Bowl spot.
Before landing in Troy, Wilmot was chairman and managing director at McCann in Frankfurt, and before that president of the Toronto office. His background in packaged goods, including Unilever and other consumer-brand clients, meshes well with GM’s brand management strategy. K