Jef Loeb has left Katsin/Loeb, the San Francisco agency he founded 12 years ago with Daniel Katsin.
Loeb, 47, said he had been planning to leave for about a year and that the split was amicable. He said he plans to freelance, finish a book on advertising and focus on other creative pursuits.
"Everyone is getting laid off. I wanted to join the party, so I laid myself off," Loeb joked.
"We know the dot-com thing went bust, and I didn't want to focus on trying to land every piece of business we shot for," he added.
Katsin/Loeb started as a $6 million agency but has grown to roughly $46 million. The shop has worked with clients such as Fireman's Fund Insurance, Yale-New Haven Hospital, Escalate, Broadview, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, Kaiser Permanente, Public Service Co. of New Mexico and Cellular One.
The agency won a Gold Lion at the 2000 International Advertising Festival in Cannes for a humorous PSA spoof for Cybercash titled "Partnership for a Filthy Rich America." "There's only one way to end prejudice against the rich—by joining them," those ads suggested.
"It was a great run because of the amazing people who've been part of the agency over time," said Loeb. "But I'm ready to zero in on the creative side of the equation—something not always possible when you have to balance the responsibilities of being an owner with the requirements of being a creative director."
Loeb will remain as a consultant to the agency for several months. The shop will continue to bear his name, at least for now.
Carlton Taylor, co-creative director at the shop and a TBWA\Chiat\Day veteran, will take on Loeb's creative duties. The agency is not planning any major changes upon Loeb's departure beyond further diversifying its services to weather the economic storm.
"We decided we would make good partners when we both stepped up to a bar and simultaneously ordered a Bombay martini, very dry, with a twist," Katsin said. "We plan to wish each other a great future just the same way."