FCB Shakes Up Leadership in Chicago and North America

Chicago CEO Michael Fassnacht steps down, Tyler Turnbull takes North America CEO role

(L. to r.) FCB North America CEO Tyler Turnbull, FCB Chicago president Kelly Graves and FCB North America CFO Mark Jungwirth FCB
Headshot of Erik Oster

Changes abound at FCB as it undergoes a leadership restructuring in North America, but the new leaders are all familiar faces for the network.

Tyler Turnbull, promoted to CEO of FCB New York and FCB Canada back in May, will now serve as North America CEO for FCB, overseeing all offices in the region, including Chicago. Michael Fassnacht, CEO for FCB Chicago, will be stepping down from that position after leading the office for nearly a decade. While the appointment is effective immediately, Fassnacht will aid in the transition process through the end of the year. The restructuring will not impact FCB Health.

Turnbull first joined FCB Toronto as CEO in 2014 and was elevated to FCB Canada CEO two years later. Before joining FCB he served as president for Proximity Canada and he has also spent time in planning leadership roles for Publicis Modem in London.

“I am honored and humbled to be entrusted with leading FCB’s next growth chapter in the market where it was born almost 150 years ago. It’s a move that will benefit all our clients for the better, and one that will harness the collective power of our more than 1,500 talented people in the region across one of the most impressive integrated creative-agency brand offerings in the world,” Turnbull said in a statement.

FCB CEO Carter Murray explained that the decision to move to a single CEO across North America was about increasing the ability to collaborate more effectively across offices under a single leader while building on its current culture and solving the problem of keeping the “culture of geography while also having one culture across the company.”

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We’re trying to bring our cultures closer together,” he told Adweek while explaining that the decision was carefully considered over the past year.

Murray touted Turnbull’s track record transforming FCB Canada and “energizing” the New York office since taking over leadership this year, as well as his “international experience,” which he called “valuable for context.”

Additionally, Kelly Graves was promoted from CMO at FCB Chicago to president of the office, and Mark Jungwirth was promoted from FCB Chicago CFO to FCB North America CFO.

Graves is an agency veteran of 12 years, having first joined FCB Chicago as an account director in 2007. Prior to her most recent role, she spent time as group management director. Jungwirth has been with FCB for nearly nine years after joining the agency from McCann, where he also served as CFO.

“In all our succession planning, Kelly has always been one of those people on that chart,” Murray said. “She has an unbelievable new business track record, [is] going to be excellent on this job, and knows the company and culture.”

“I think the obvious path for a talent like Tyler or Kelly is to one day run a global organization,” he added. “I think I’ve got five to six executives who will be global CEOs of companies in their career. My job is to hire people that I want to work for one day. We have a lot of very talented people across the network.”

Fassnacht explained that following his departure from the FCB Chicago CEO role he will be taking some time off before determining his next move, adding that it will involve the combination of data, creativity and technology, and may or may not be within the IPG organization.

“I really love FCB and the people I work with, and I’m thankful for everything we’ve done together,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate to work with great people for 10 years, and now it’s time for a change.”

Among the office’s most important accomplishments during his tenure, Fassnacht cited its work for Michelob Ultra, growing the brand in a challenging category as most others declined, the agency’s PSA work around gun reform, which he called “very personal and emotional for me,” and the agency’s role in helping shape its community.

“FCB Chicago was always at its best when it was highly engaged civically [and] part of the community in Chicago. [The agency has] done a lot of projects to make Chicago a better place,” he said. “When they need a bigger project, they call FCB Chicago nowadays.”

The leadership restructuring is the latest in a series of changes for FCB this year.

After Turnbull’s previous promotion, FCB New York hired Emma Armstrong from iCrossing as president and FCB Canada brought on Publicis vet Bryan Kane as president, effective Sept. 3.

Back in May, FCB Chicago CCO Liz Taylor left the agency to join Leo Burnett in a global creative leadership role. Earlier this month, Andrés Ordóñez officially took over as FCB Chicago CCO, following his departure from Energy BBDO.

“I think [Liz Taylor] is amazing. We need to celebrate more when brilliant people are getting promoted and celebrate even more when brilliant women are being promoted,” Murray said. “[Had she] gone to a parallel job, I would have been upset, but it’s fantastic for her and she deserves it. For us, it’s a compliment. She came to [FCB] and became a global CCO.”

After receiving “a flood of inquiries” in its search to replace Taylor, Murray explained the agency arrived at two or three top-tier finalists before deciding on Ordóñez, who he called “one of the most likable people you’ll ever meet,” adding that the agency feels very good about its creative product under its chief creative.

According to a statement, the leadership changes are also a first step in the global expansion of creative data analytics offering FCB/Six.

Murray explained it was a step toward making the offering “faster and more integrated across all our clients,” adding that FCB is focusing on “organic growth through new business” but may also consider outside acquisitions at some point in the future.

“[FCB] is continuing on a plan that I started on two years ago,” he said. “FCB/Six is a key part of it.”

“Six years in, we’re close to being the network I always aspired for us to be,” he added.


@ErikDOster erik.oster@adweek.com Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.