A stunning series of setbacks has rocked Leonard/Monahan yet again.
Partners Kathleen Hall and Pam Hamlin have resigned. The two executives had considered themselves the next generation of ownership at the Providence, R.I.-based agency should co-founder and chairman Bruce Leonard step down.
Further clouding the shop's future, creative director Kara Goodrich is said to be open to employment offers from other agencies.
Separately, Polaroid Corp.'s business imaging unit, a client of Leonard/Monahan for almost a decade and its main creative showcase, has moved its account to roster shop Holland Mark Martin Edmund in Boston without a review, sources said. Polaroid is believed to have represented roughly one-third of Leonard/Monahan's overall revenues, reported in 1997 at $5.5 million.
Holland Mark principal Chris Colbert declined comment, and Polaroid senior vice president of marketing Alison Corcoran did not return calls at press time.
Hamlin, who served as director of client services at Leonard/Monahan, is reuniting with former agency partner Fran Kelly at Arnold Communications in Boston as executive vice president and account director, Kelly said.
According to Kelly, Hamlin was not recruited to work on Polaroid, which Arnold recently added to its client roster. Kelly and Hamlin have remained in touch over the years since he left Providence, Kelly said. "Clients and creative people love her," he said of Hamlin.
Hall, who served as media director at Leonard/Monahan, was said by Walters to be weighing her options.
Hamlin and Hall, both longtime Leonard/Monahan employees, had notified Leonard of their intention to leave before the start of the new year, sources said. They had grown increasingly frustrated with the co-founder's prolonged inability to articulate a plan for the agency, sources said.
The two executives stayed committed to the agency, believing that one day Leonard would allow them to run it, sources said. When it became clear that such a scenario was not in the foreseeable future, they chose to leave, sources said. Numerous calls placed to Leonard, Hamlin and Hall were not returned by press time.
The small shop with a big creative reputation honed first by co-founder Tom Monahan and later by David Lubars, now president of BBDO West in Los Angeles, was started 20 years ago by Leonard, Monahan and Bob Saabye. With the latest departures, Leonard has lost every partner he's worked with. Each time, though, he has managed to steer the agency back on course. This time, however, the losses appear to be the most damaging of all, sources said, especially if Goodrich should also depart.
The award-winning copywriter is considered one of New England's most sought after creative talents. Goodrich, who has won 13 One Show Pencils and twice been nominated for national Kelly Awards honoring excellence in print advertising, was promoted to creative director last June to replace David Baldwin.
Rob Rich, a former creative partner and close friend of Goodrich, is co-creative director at Ingalls Advertising in Boston, where sources said Goodrich has long been on the wish list of agency president Steve Connolly, a Leonard/Monahan alum.
--with Sarah Jones