DDB Needham here had a goodbye party for outgoing chief creative officer Jim Ferguson last week, complete with gags like a mock collection jar.
No, it wasn't for gas money for the new president of Young & Rubicam in New York. It was labeled for another cause: "With proceeds going to find the new DDB Needham creative director," joked agency president Jake Shroepfer.
It was lighthearted, good-natured ribbing, but not entirely without basis. Ferguson's turnaround of DDB Needham's creative reputation has made the post one of the most lucrative Southwest advertising openings in years, and one that will probably command the attention of high-priced talent nationwide.
Shroepfer, in an interview with this magazine, said the Omnicom-owned shop has begun its national search and been contacted by numerous candidates and headhunters about the job since Ferguson's move to Y&R was revealed [Adweek, April 12].
The only decision made thus far by Shroepfer is that he is not looking to make a splash; rather, he wants to make an investment. "I think we need to have someone with a proven track record of building brands," he said. "And someone who's got
to be the right person for the future of the agency.
I want to look at this as a long-term solution."
Shroepfer declined to discuss any specifics on creative or management experience criteria the shop is after. DDB is currently rating potential candidates outside of Omnicom. Those within the network who want to pursue the post will be considered individually. "I'd have to evaluate that on a case-by-case basis and be in communication with their appropriate agency," Shroepfer said.