Y&R’s Patti Loses N.Y. Oversight

NEW YORK WPP Group’s Young & Rubicam is restructuring its North American agency network with new executive hires and a significant change in the role of worldwide creative director and chairman and CEO of the New York office Michael Patti, the agency said.

The restructuring removes management oversight of the New York office from Patti.

Patti, who joined the agency 18 months ago from Omnicom Group’s BBDO in New York, will take on the title of vice chairman, focusing solely on global creative director responsibilities.

Y&R chairman and CEO Ann Fudge, who has been said to have a rocky relationship with Patti, announced the restructuring today.

The agency said it is also eliminating the CEO title in its New York, Chicago, Detroit, Irvine, San Francisco and Toronto offices and calling the leaders of those offices North American managing partners.

As such, Mary Maroun is joining Y&R as managing partner in New York. The other managing partners are: Kary McIlwain in Chicago; Don Williams in Detroit; David Murphy in Irvine, Calif; Penny Baldwin in San Francisco; and Chris Jordan in Toronto.

In a statement, Fudge said, “Michael has tremendous creative instincts and ability. I have asked him to make sure that our creative work is the absolute best everywhere, not only by setting high creative standards but by his active participation across our entire global network.”

A “catalyst team” comprised of senior executives across the North America network will oversee local client business. In New York, Matt Eastwood will become ecd of the team. He joins from M&C Saatchi, where he held top creative positions all over the world.

Other members of the catalyst team, who all report to Fudge, are: Y&R veteran John Morris is chief growth officer and managing partner of Y&R Brands’ Microsoft business. Prior to his new role, he was chief operating officer of New York. Jon Cropper was named creative content and channel strategist. He has worked for Nissan, MTV, Quincy Jones Entertainment and IdeaSpa. David Yakir, who joined the agency last year, will become chief digital officer. And John Gerzema, most recently of Publicis Groupe’s Fallon, was named chief insights officer.

Patti said in a statement: “I couldn’t be more excited. We are really transforming the way this agency works, and I know that the benefits of change will be obvious in our work and in the results it helps our client partners achieve.”