BOSTON-In an unexpected move, Kara Goodrich was named creative director of Leonard/Monahan last week after former creative director and partner David Baldwin left the agency.
The parting was "amicable," according to both Baldwin, who was reached at home, and chairman Bruce Leonard.
However, Baldwin's creative peers in Boston and Providence, R.I., expressed surprise at the switch. One creative director at a Boston agency, who said he spoke to Baldwin just days before Baldwin resigned last Monday, noted, "He seemed perfectly happy, chatting about business and how good things were. Usually if [a change is days away], something will slip."
"I know it will seem like it's out of left field, but it's not," Baldwin said. "There are some things I can't talk about, but I'm leaving totally up. The agency is really kicking. It's the right time for a lot of reasons."
Baldwin has no concrete job plans.
A recent source of tension was Baldwin's inability to help Leonard/Monahan land accounts of national stature, said a source close to the agency. "They wanted him to be like [former agency creative directors] Tom Monahan and David Lubars . . . to go out and bring in" big clients on par with Keds and Lotus, this source said.
Baldwin plans to take a six-week sabbatical to "hang out and watch my kid grow up," he said. After that, his plans were unclear but could include writing children's books or directing. He has had no job offers, he said.
Baldwin was recruited to the Providence, R.I., shop in 1994 from Cole & Weber in Portland, Ore., where his work on the Dr. Martens account earned him national merit. During his time at Leonard/Monahan, the agency's work for Polaroid was twice nominated for the Magazine Publishers Association's Kelly award.
Baldwin will likely sign a noncompete agreement, Leonard said. "This is not the first time this has happened to me," he admitted. "Tom Monahan left the agency to do something different, and David decided he wanted to explore some other things. I wish him well. I'm thrilled to see Kara step in."
Goodrich, formerly associate creative director, will become a partner with equity
in the agency, Leonard said. "Kara's got some great support here, as David did when he was creative director," he said.