NEW YORK Allen Rosenshine, chairman of BBDO and one of the forces behind the creation of its parent company, Omnicom Group, is set to retire from the agency, effective Dec. 31, the shop said.
Rosenshine, 67, continued in the chairmanship after handing over CEO duties to Andrew Robertson in 2004. After his retirement, he will be known as chairman emeritus of the worldwide agency.
In a statement, he said that choosing Robertson as CEO was one of his most important decisions that "turned out extremely well. BBDO continues to grow, its creative heritage is flourishing in both traditional and new media, and there is little left that I can contribute, all of which is exactly as it should be. I'm delighted to have worked my way out quietly."
Rosenshine began his 44-year career in 1962 at J.B. Rundle Advertising, a business-to-business shop in New York, and moved to BBDO in 1965 as a copywriter.
Ten years later, he was promoted to creative director of BBDO in New York, working on the famous campaigns the agency created for Gillette and Pepsi, among others.
He continued to climb the executive ranks and by 1985 was named worldwide CEO after serving five years as president of the New York office. He helped form Omnicom in 1986 using BBDO and the merger between Doyle Dane Bernbach and Needham Harper as the cornerstones of the company, which now has more than 5,000 clients worldwide and owns agencies including Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, GSD&M, PHD, OMD, Rapp Collins and TBWA.
From 1989 through last year, BBDO's worldwide billings climbed from $3 billion to $24 billion, with 287 offices in 77 countries. Its clients include DaimlerChrysler, Lowe's, Motorola, Procter & Gamble and Wrigley.
The International Advertising Festival in Cannes tapped Rosenshine in 1991 to be president of the awards jury. He also has served on the American Association of Advertising Agencies board of directors and the Advertising Council.
After serving for three years as Omnicom's first CEO, Rosenshine returned to BBDO in 1989 as chairman, chief executive and handed the holding company baton to Bruce Crawford, who ascended from BBDO.
"Of all the people I've worked with over the years, Allen is one of the few I've been close to as a friend," Crawford said in a statement. "His intelligence, integrity and talent made practically everything we worked on together more interesting, more challenging and more productive."
John Wren, the current Omnicom CEO, added that Rosenshine has been "the heart and soul of the agency. It's BBDO blood that runs through his veins. So Andrew and I are very glad that, even in retirement, he will still stay in contact with the network and be available whenever he might be needed."
A founding member of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Rosenshine will continue to work with the organization in his current role as vice chairman and executive creative director.
He recently put many of his observations and anecdotes about the ad business in a book, Funny Business: Moguls, Mobsters, Megastar, and the Mad, Mad World of the Ad Game, published in June by Beaufort Books.
"He built a network of extraordinary talent that does extraordinary work," Robertson said in a statement. "He believed that you could be good and big, creative and global. And he proved to the world he was right."