Last time Deutsch LA looked for a chief creative officer, the agency found its pick in London. This time, the creative chief comes from Boston.
Pete Favat, the longtime creative leader of Arnold in Boston, is heading West to lead the 125-person creative department at Deutsch LA. He starts Oct. 14.
Favat fills a vacancy left by the March exit of Mark Hunter. Hunter, who previously was executive creative director at TBWA\London, held the job for just two years.
At Deutsch, Favat reunites with Volkswagen of America, a client at Arnold from 1995 until 2005. VW is Deutsch's largest account and a high-profile one at that, given its presence on the Super Bowl in the past few years. Other agency accounts include Taco Bell, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and Emerald Nuts.
Favat, 51, also will serve as a partner to Deutsch LA CEO Mike Sheldon, 53, who described him as a "great leader with a huge heart." All told, the agency employs about 480 staffers.
Sheldon first considered Favat for the role back in 2010, during the search that led to Hunter. Back then, however, Favat wasn't interested in moving. Different story this time.
"We stayed in contact ever since. And then I was in Cannes in June. I ran into him in the lobby at the Carlton. I said, 'Dude, what's up?' And he said, 'Well, I'd like to throw my hat into the ring,'" Sheldon told Adweek. "And it was like, 'Ah, I just paid for my trip.'"
What had changed in three years? Well, Favat's youngest child was heading to college—eliminating the unappealing prospect of uprooting his family—and Deutsch's profile had grown, in part through ads like "The Force" for VW. In short, the agency had become a more attractive proposition and Favat was free to move.
And while Favat's VW experience is a plus, Sheldon was more impressed with his overall management experience and "boundless energy."
"I was looking for a generalist—somebody who understood great work and business strategy," Sheldon said. "The fact that he's got car experience and he loves cars is just a bonus."
At Arnold, whose accounts include Progressive, Ocean Spray, Volvo and New Balance, Favat was CCO. With his exit, Arnold has named creative leaders Wade Devers and Pete Johnson to the additional role of creative lead partner.
At the same time, the agency has promoted Johnson from group cd to executive creative director to be at the same level as Devers. Both report to president Pam Hamlin.