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MFP's Katz, Leahy Move to Lowe

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NEW YORK Nancy Katz and Leann Leahy, two longtime senior executives at MDC Partners' Margeotes Fertitta Powell, have left the agency to lead the estimated $60 million Johnson & Johnson account at Lowe.

Katz, 43, had been with the New York agency, known as Margeotes Fertitta + Partners until July, for 14 years, most recently as director of client services. She left the shop in late September, a day before she began her post as executive vice president, managing director of Johnson & Johnson's U.S. business, a new position.

Katz will take over the U.S. responsibility from Peter Leinroth, who had handled U.S. and global duties on the account. Katz will report to Leinroth, who will continue to handle global responsibilities.

Lowe handles advertising for Johnson & Johnson's baby care brands O.B. and Care Free, as well as corporate messaging. The company spent about $60 million on ads for those brands last year and approximately $30 million through August of this year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Katz called Lowe an agency that is attempting to get back in touch with its creative roots. "It's reminiscent of Margeotes when I first got there." The new post "is giving me the opportunity to focus again on one piece of business and really delve into it deeply," she said.

Katz, who was approached by a recruiter in July, suggested Lowe also speak with Leahy, MFP's director of account planning for eight years. Leahy, 35, said she was brought on to define the role of planning at MF+P.

"Lowe has a planner at the helm in Tony Wright, so it's built into the fiber of what Lowe is," Leahy said. "There was no selling of what planning could or couldn't be."

Leahy will also report into Leinroth.

Katz and Leahy are the third and fourth senior executives to leave MFP this year. In July, chief operations officer and 15-year agency veteran Fred Langbecker left the shop in a move CEO George Fertitta said was prompted by the appointment of Michael Kantrow as president. CFO Paul Mendela retired the following month after 20 years on the job.

Kantrow said Katz's role had been absorbed by a number of senior account managers, while the planning department is being reorganized under strategy director Josh Rogers and ecd Neil Powell.