LOS ANGELES Chuck McBride, North American ecd at TBWA\Chiat\Day in San Francisco, has left the shop to launch a boutique agency called Cutwater, which is backed by Omnicom Group.
The move had been expected.
In a statement, McBride said the agency came about because "the advertising business has changed," and Cutwater constitutes a new model to meet current client challenges. The shop was named after the prow of a ship, as old boats are among McBride's passions. He could not immediately be reached for comment.
Several TBWA\C\D San Francisco clients jump to the crosstown startup, including Ray-Ban and Fox Sports. The shop is also working on Motorola, Persol eyewear and computer storage manufacturer Seagate/Maxtor. Brad Harrington has left Cole & Webber, Seattle, where he was co-president, to join the new agency as president. TBWA\C\D's planning director Rob Klingensmith also followed McBride to the new shop, where he will be strategic planning head.
"Cutwater is a timely addition to the Omnicom portfolio," said Omnicom CEO John Wren in a statement. "Cutwater offers a fresh take on integration that is particularly relevant to clients in today's marketing and media environment."
Omnicom will likely shutter TBWA's San Francisco outpost, sources said. The shop has employed about 50 staffers, several of whom could join McBride. Others could be reassigned to TBWA\C\D's office in Playa del Rey, Calif., or to the Los Angeles office of 180, the Amsterdam-based shop recently added to the Omnicom fold, per sources.
McBride joined the agency in 1999 after stints at Publicis Groupe's Team One, Omnicom's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Interpublic Group's Foote, Cone & Belding and two separate tours at independent Wieden + Kennedy, among others.