Marty Cooke's arrival as creative chief at M&C Saatchi here adds the final piece of the new management team assembled by executive chairman Robert Fletcher.
Fletcher was brought in last summer by the agency's London partners and charged with shoring up the U.S. outpost.
With Cooke on board, Fletcher feels the shop is finally poised to move beyond the perception that it's simply a British Airways service office. Although M&C claims $100 million in billings, most of that comes from BA, handled mainly in London. The shop's largest U.S. win--the $12 million Rally's Hamburger account--came in 1997. The business was consolidated at Crispin Porter & Bogusky the following year.
Cooke, who resigned from his post as chief creative officer of Merkley Newman Harty last week, will become a partner and executive creative director for the New York shop, effective at month's end.
Fletcher approached Cooke several weeks ago, as MNH was planning to restructure its creative department following the Mercedes-Benz win.
"The combination of his reel and proven track record, and not just in the U.S., and his leadership qualities make him an ideal choice," said Fletcher.
Cooke said his desire to join an outfit with takeoff potential was his main motivation. "This is a brand new management team without any baggage," said Cooke. "It's also one of the few strong brands in the business."
He replaces Brent Bouchez and David Page, who left last September due to philosophical differences with the London partners.
Working off a clean slate, Fletcher in December hired Jim Meyer as president and chief strategy officer from D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles.
Another new arrival was Alan Jarvie from M&C in Hong Kong, who was tapped in October as a creative director and liaison with London on British Airways. Jarvie, Meyer, Fletcher and Cooke all are partners.
In February, Hugh Duthie was added as director of planning. Duthie worked with Cooke at Chiat/Day in Toronto several years ago.