Young & Rubicam's California offices plan to add at least 80-90 employees by the summer as they gear up to take on Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln-Mercury division. The San Francisco shop, which will handle creative duties, currently employs nearly 200 people.
Ford is in the process of moving its $275 million Lincoln-Mercury business from Detroit to Irvine, Calif. Y&R has followed suit by deciding to split ad duties on the account, previously handled by Y&R Detroit, between San Francisco and a new Irvine office [Adweek, March 23]. The added business nearly doubles Y&R San Francisco's billings, making it one of the largest agencies in the Bay Area.
Of the nearly 300 Y&R employees who have worked on the account in Detroit, about 100 have been offered positions in the two Western offices. Eventually, the remaining staff will be offered a chance to relocate as well.
"We will have several people joining us from [Y&R's] Detroit office," said Austin McGhie, president and chief executive officer of Y&R San Francisco. "We expect to add at least 50 people to our creative department, which gives us a huge creative resource here that we are excited about."
At least 40 employees from Wunderman Cato Johnson, San Francisco, which handles relationship marketing for Lincoln-Mercury, will share Y&R's office space once it has been expanded and renovated, according to McGhie.
Y&R executive creative director Mike Belitsos, who currently oversees the Lincoln-Mercury business in Detroit, will also join the San Francisco office. He will handle only Lincoln-Mercury in the short term, but may eventually expand his responsibilities.
"We are still looking for an executive creative director for our other clients," McGhie said.
Y&R's former executive creative director, Peter Angelos, left the shop in February.