NEW YORK--Chris Jones, worldwide CEO of J. Walter Thompson since 1996, is leaving for "health reasons," according to an internal memo distributed Thursday.
Neither Jones nor the agency could be reached immediately. But the memo said that Detroit-based Peter Schweitzer, currently worldwide president, assumed Jones' duties effective immediately.
Jones, who had a stabilizing influence on an agency that just a few years ago was stung by client defections and executive turmoil, has grappled with circulatory problems for about a year, according to sources.
"I know each and every one of you join with me in wishing him and his family the very best," Schweitzer said in the e-mail memo. "Having spent most of my adult life at JWT," he said, "I will do my utmost to fulfill the job to the best of my ability. With your help and support, the team will keep the agency we all revere moving forward."