Luke Sullivan likes to say, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans."
That maxim may well apply to the Rochester, Minn., native, who this week joins Omnicom's GSD&M in Austin, Texas, as svp, group creative director.
Sullivan, 48, formerly WestWayne's chief creative officer, never envisioned himself working so far south when he began his career in 1978 as a copywriter at Bozell & Jacobs in Minneapolis. But after 25 years in the industry, during which he has worked at shops in Virginia, Georgia and New York, he now finds a home in the "fun … democratic" environment of GSD&M.
"I love the soul of the brand," he said of the shop. "They walk the talk that they do."
Sullivan, who reports to agency president Roy Spence, becomes one of nine gcd's at the shop. He will oversee one of six creative groups with fellow svp and gcd David Crawford. Sullivan fills the position vacated by Jeremy Postaer, who left the agency earlier this month to freelance. It has not been determined which accounts his group will handle.
A self-described "book nerd," Sullivan attended the University of Minnesota, University of Michigan and St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., before starting his ad career. His experience includes stints at Della Femina, Travisano & Partners in New York and The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va. He spent a decade at Fallon McElligott before taking the top creative post at WestWayne in 1998. Sullivan left the shop last November in a separation he called a "gentle parting of the ways."
During his career, Sullivan has worked on ads for Miller Brewing, United Airlines and BellSouth, among others. He takes great pride in his management style, which he described as fair and even-tempered.
"It's a core value with me," he said. "I insist on, and always will insist on, being nice to people." —MINDY CHARSKI