Not quite a year into his term as president of Rockett, Burkhead, Lewis & Winslow in Raleigh, N.C., Bill Youngclaus has unexpectedly tendered his resignation.
"Bill has lived in Pinehurst [N.C.] the past year, which is an hour-and-half commute [one way]," said agency chairman and chief executive officer Howard Rockett. "It got to be really hard on him. It was good of him to try and do that for us, but I think it finally got to Bill. His personal situation didn't lend itself to the commute."
Rockett said that Youngclaus would wrap up his duties in the next 30 to 60 days.
Youngclaus did not return calls concerning his departure from the agency he joined last August.
Youngclaus came to the North Carolina shop with an impressive resumƒ. From 1984 to 1990 he served as president and chief operating officer of what was then Tatham, Laird & Kudner in Chicago. In 1990, Youngclaus was appointed president and chief executive of RSCG Europe in Paris. He also held executive positions with McDonald's Corp. and Young & Rubicam in Chicago.
At the time of Youngclaus' hiring, Rockett hailed him as a "the right leader to help our team make the most of the great opportunities ahead." Concerning rumors that the agency did not make new business strides fast enough under Youngclaus, Rockett maintained the shop "has had nice growth this past eight or nine months, and this had nothing to do with any performance-driven stuff."
Looking ahead, Rockett said that the agency, with billings of $97 million, has no plans to recruit a replacement. Rather, Youngclaus' job will be split among the other senior managers already in place. That group includes senior vice president of operations and finance Lanny Bynum and senior vice president and executive creative director Michael Winslow, as well as Rockett.
"Bill and I were friends before, and we're still friends," Rockett said. "This was not a problem."