The three, Andrew Hyett, Scott Heimbrodt and Anthony Broadbent, claimed that in November they reached an agreement to purchase the agency from DDB.
The lawsuit charges that earlier this month DDB 'breached the agreement by unilaterally terminating the agreement without justification,' and wrongfully terminated the executives.
In a press release, Heimbrodt said that the S.F. office was 'logging an annual loss,' which he attributed to 'an extremely unfavorable building lease agreement.' Robert Ernest Gyemant, an attorney with S.F. firm Kaye, Gyemant and McCarthy, which is representing the three, said in that release that DDB West chairman Alan Pando planned to close the office when the building lease expires in February, 1994.
After a series of meetings, Gyemant said, Heimbrodt put together a draft of a business plan to purchase the agency with his two partners. Heimbrodt charged in the release that the three executives were not given the chance to 'defend or explain' the proposal. A few days later, 'we were fired,' he said.
Hyett, at DDB since 1990, Heimbrodt, employed since '86, and Broadbent, employed since 1988, were named managing partners in August, 1991, in an attempt to model the S.F. office after the entrepreneurial shops in the market. According to the complaint, Hyett and Heimbrodt had earned $121,000. Broadbent had earned $136,000.
DDB's Pando could not be reached for comment at press time. But in a press release issued somewhat more than a week ago, DDB said that the three executives 'left the company after their offer to purchase the agency - the culmination of discussions initiated in August - was declined by DDB Needham.'
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)