Tom Patty, TBWA Chiat/Day's president and worldwide account director on the $800 million global Nissan business, is taking a six-month sabbatical from his post.
Patty was closely linked with former Nissan Motor Corp. U.S.A. president Bob Thomas. "This was not a surprise, after [Thomas] left," said a source.
Bob Kuperman, chief executive of the Americas for TBWA Worldwide, is taking on Patty's duties while searching for a successor.
Patty, who worked with four presidents and at least 10 vice presidents of marketing during his tenure, wanted a break from the business which is roughly half the agency's income, sources said. "It's time for a new team to take over," said Patty. "I will use the next few months to travel and perhaps even write a book."
Nissan said it was not planning any account changes. "We applaud Tom Patty's contribution to Nissan Worldwide and have great confidence in Bob Kuperman," said Mike Seergy, vice president and general manager at the client.
TBWA C/D in Venice, Calif., is under pressure on its "Enjoy the ride" campaign: Nissan and Infiniti sales dropped 29 and 16 percent, respectively through May, per J.D. Power and Associates. The agency has already dropped its Mr. K ads in favor of hard-sell, model-specific work.