-AC&R Advertising/N.Y. is moving into yet another transition phase with the departure of executive vp/executive creative director Paul Cappelli last week.
The $185-million shop, which has endured two failed buy-back attempts from parent Saatchi & Saatchi Co. PLC, has experienced great transition of late. Since 1990, former chairman Stephen Rose retired, former president Karen Amorelli was ousted and the agency now reports to London through Backer Spielvogel Bates Worldwide. Now Chereskin must decide who will replace Cappelli, as well as who will lead the agency into the next generation. Despite these changes, however, the agency's bedrock accounts such as Estee Lauder, Seiko and Foot Locker seem to have remained loyal to the agency.
Sources said vice chairman/ceo Harry Koenig is now positioned as the heir apparent to chairman/ceo Alvin Chereskin. However, despite published reports that Chereskin is thinking of stepping down, sources said that the chairman is likely to stay on board for at least another two years.
Last Thursday, the agency issued a statement announcing that Cappelli, who joined AC&R some eight months ago from McCann-Erickson/N.Y., was leaving due to "creative differences."
While Chereskin is temporarily taking over Cappelli's duties at the agency, his departure still leaves a major hole in the creative department. The shop must now find another creative who can eventually fill Chereskin's shoes on the $80-million Estee Lauder account, and hold on to it once he retires.
At press time, sources said that AC&R management was trying to decide if they wanted to look for a creative director just to work on Lauder or someone who could handle Lauder and other accounts. The shop could possibly hire several creatives.
AC&R is presently engaged in an internecine battle with sister agency Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising to retain its Aramis account, with more presentations scheduled for later this month. While several shops have tried to use the Aramis pitch as a wedge into other Estee Lauder business, sources said Chereskin's close relationship with Leonard Lauder makes it doubtful that the client will throw any more of its business into review.
Given his experience on the huge Coca-Cola account at McCann, Cappelli is expected to land another post. Sources speculated that he could return to his former agency, which could be looking for more creative firepower on Coke.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)