Mark Barden, a founding partner and account planner with Black Rocket here, said he will leave the agency in the next few months as soon as a replacement can be found.
"I am leaving my job to travel," Barden said. "So, I can stay as long as necessary to make things go smoothly."
Barden came to Black Rocket from Hal Riney & Partners, San Francisco, where he was senior vice president and director of account planning. Black Rocket president John Yost, who also worked at Riney, originally helped hire Barden from Wieden & Kennedy. Barden and Yost teamed up in 1995 with creatives Steve Stone, also from Riney, and Bob Kerstetter from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, to launch Black Rocket.
"This is a good time for me to leave," Barden said. "Setting up an agency is a big job. I've worked really hard, but now I feel a little burned out and need a break."
Barden said he is unsure if he will return to the ad industry after his sabbatical. "Let's just say if advertising was charging me up, I wouldn't be leaving," he said.
"We're all jealous of Mark," Yost said. "We certainly can't feel bad about what he's doing."
Yost said he has been talking with several candidates to fill Barden's position. "The transition will be seamless," he said.
Sources said Barden had become "increasingly unhappy as an account planner" because Kerstetter and Stone "don't want to deal with too many clients" and have not been "aggressive" about attracting new business. Barden denies those claims, noting "it was never our plan to grow explosively as an agency. Honestly, I'm leaving because I have a new bride, and we want to see the world together."