DDB U.S. President Paul Gunning Is Stepping Down

He's spent more than 20 years within the DDB network of agencies

paul gunning
Gunning's departure is the latest in a series of leadership changes at DDB. DDB
Headshot of Minda Smiley

Paul Gunning, president and chief operating officer of DDB U.S., is retiring at the end of this year. According to DDB, his role has not yet been filled.

Chuck Brymer, chairman of DDB, shared the news of his retirement in a memo to staff today. Gunning joined DDB Chicago as CEO in 2013. Before joining DDB Chicago, he spent many years at Tribal Worldwide, an agency that’s part of the DDB network.

“Since joining the DDB network in 2000, Paul has shown tremendous passion for our people, our clients and our industry, year after year,” Brymer wrote in the memo. “Under Paul’s leadership, we reshaped North America and created great momentum for all our U.S. offices. Our leadership in the region has worked closely with him to support our work, initiatives and culture.”

Brymer also noted that Gunning “has been a great friend and partner to many of us, and his energy, relentlessness and pride for DDB is something we will truly miss.”

His departure is the latest in a string of leadership changes at DDB. In April, Wendy Clark left her role as global CEO to lead Dentsu Aegis Network. Months later, the agency network promoted Marty O’Halloran to global CEO. O’Halloran previously served as chairman and CEO of DDB’s Australia and New Zealand offices.

DDB recently named Justin Thomas-Copeland as CEO of the network’s North America region, a role also previously held by Clark. In the memo, Brymer said Gunning will “work closely with Marty and Justin as we continue to evolve and expand our leadership ranks.”

The executive shakeup comes at a bumpy time for DDB. Brands including McDonald’s, State Farm and Capital One have cut ties with the agency over the past few years. However, it won the lucrative U.S. Army account at the end of 2018 and was named Kroger’s first agency of record last year.

DDB found itself in hot water last year due to its relationship with ecigarette company Juul. It won the brand’s creative review in 2018, but purportedly ended the relationship a year later after the brand halted advertising in the U.S.

@Minda_Smiley minda.smiley@adweek.com Minda Smiley is an agencies reporter at Adweek.