Y&R’s Patti Departs

NEW YORK Young & Rubicam worldwide creative director Michael Patti has left the WPP Group agency after nearly four years, Y&R confirmed.

The shop is not expected to fill the post.

Patti joined Y&R in March 2003 as worldwide cd and chairman and CEO of its New York office. In July 2004, he shed his New York leadership role to focus on global creative efforts.

Since then he has worked primarily on key client Chevron, for whom he led the creation of the “Human energy” corporate image campaign that launched in 2005 and continues today. At the same time, Patti also sought to improve the caliber of Y&R’s work in key regions around the world.

Former Y&R worldwide CEO Michael Dolan recruited Patti from Omnicom Group’s BBDO in New York, where he was a senior ecd who worked on Pepsi, General Electric, Pizza Hut and HBO. When Patti arrived, then New York chief creative officer Jim Ferguson left for a top job at DDB in Chicago.

To recruit Patti, Y&R had to match a lucrative, long-term contract he had at BBDO.

Burger King defined Patti’s first year at Y&R, with Patti and Dolan leading efforts to win the $350 million account in the spring of 2003. The agency’s launch campaign centered around BK’s flame-broiled method of cooking and connected it to America’s love for outdoor grilling.

The effort was short lived, however, as the client shifted to a more food-focused approach. And, in January 2004, less than a year after hiring Y&R, BK shifted creative duties to MDC Partners’ Crispin, Porter + Bogusky in Miami.

Six months later, when Patti shed his New York duties, then worldwide CEO Ann Fudge named new management and creative leaders for the office: managing partner Mary Maroun and ecd Matt Eastwood.

Eastwood left in September 2005, and two months later, then North American CEO Gord McLean hired former Lowe chairman and creative chief Gary Goldsmith as CCO of Y&R’s new York office. Goldsmith’s duties expanded to cover all of North America in June.