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As for the change in structure, Droga himself believes having a U.S. creative leader rather than a global one is a smart move. "One person can only do so much," he said of the worldwide creative role. "When you're spending all your time on planes, putting out fires in different offices, you can't be productive."

The benefit of such a position is that it serves as a "beacon for creativity in the company," said Gianinno. "But it proved to be very difficult to actually do that job. What do you work on? What clients do you relate to? What people are you responsible for? So we struggled with whether or not in a practical sense that was a meaningful title—that one person could actually make an impact on the offices throughout the world."

Some sources have characterized the working relationship between Gianinno and Droga as being fraught with friction, which they both dispute. "That's not true," Droga insisted. "We come from different advertising backgrounds and didn't always see eye to eye, but I always thought she was a woman of her word. There was certainly respect, and we shared similar objectives—to push the business forward and do better work."

As for Moore's long-distance arrangement, Droga said he doesn't see a drawback. "Geography is not the issue. It's the relationship between the people more than the physical space between them," he declared. "In some agencies people sit right next to each other and don't talk."

The setup may be unusual, but it's not unprecedented. "There is a divide-and-conquer mentality to this arrangement," Moore said. "It's a good idea to divide Susan and me up on the two coasts."

As for Moore's priorities, he said "getting New York fixed" was on the top of the list.

There are jobs to fill in that office. Two years ago, Droga hired three executive creative directors there, including David Corr, who is the only one of those remaining since last summer, and he works mostly on Procter & Gamble.

"He's been doing a great job, but he needs another team to help run those businesses day to day," Moore said of Corr. "We also need to get an ecd to partner with [Publicis New York president]Gil Duff."

Lisa Colantuono, marketing director of New York consultancy AAR Partners, described Publicis USA as "a good agency creatively and strategically. They're integrated, but so are a lot of other agencies. When people think of Publicis, they think of Heineken." T-Mobile is famous work, but it doesn't immediately "make an association for you with Publicis," she added.

Moore, whose creative reputation was built on award-winning work for Nike, Microsoft and Altavista (while at Wieden + Kennedy) and United Airlines and Lee Jeans (at Publicis' Fallon), wants to strengthen the creative product so that the 550 creatives in the 10 U.S. offices of Publicis and Publicis Dialog can say one year from now: "We're hitting home runs."