Matthew Bull to Leave Mcgarrybowen New York, Kurt Fries Is Elevated to CCO in Chicago

U.S. CCO Ned Crowley will run N.Y.'s creative department temporarily

Matthew Bull and Kurt Fries
Headshot of Tim Nudd

Mcgarrybowen is shuffling its U.S. creative leadership as Matthew Bull, chief creative officer in New York, has decided to leave the agency.

The New York shop did not give a reason for Bull’s departure, but it is understood to be related to a personal matter, as a close family member of Bull’s is continuing to recover from a car accident that happened earlier this year. Bull is expected to exit the agency by the end of the month.

The South African creative star, who made a name for himself as a TBWA\Hunt Lascaris copywriter and went on to spend 15 years in the Lowe network, joined mcgarrybowen as New York CCO two years ago, a few months after shuttering his own 4-year-old New York agency, The Bull-White House.

“I have loved my time at mcgarrybowen, and have been surrounded by special people, both from a personal and professional perspective. I know they will continue to go from strength to strength,” Bull said in a statement.

“Matthew’s inspirational qualities and his desire to push the creative product to new heights and in new directions has been very much at the heart of our overall resurgence,” added mcgarrybowen’s U.S. CEO, Simon Pearce. “I am deeply grateful for his contributions and commitment during his tenure during what has been an important and successful chapter in the mcgarrybowen story.”

U.S. CCO Ned Crowley

U.S. CCO Ned Crowley, who has been based in Chicago, will serve as interim CCO in New York until the agency finds a successor to Bull. Crowley will spend more time on the East Coast, which is timely, as he was instrumental in winning the American Express account, which will be run out of New York.

As part of the shuffle, Kurt Fries is being promoted from executive creative director to chief creative officer in Chicago. Fries, who joined as group creative director in 2012, has led creative on Chicago’s largest accounts, including Disney Destinations (Parks, Resorts, Cruise Line and multicultural communications). He also helped win Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and Clorox brands Brita and Kingsford.

“Kurt’s passion and leadership is extraordinary, rallying our people and clients alike,” Crowley said. “I have complete confidence that Kurt’s best days are ahead, and expect that he will continue to inspire great work that is highly effective for our clients.”

“The Chicago office has enjoyed tremendous growth over the past several years, and I am fortunate to be part of such a successful team,” Fries said. “We have a deep bench of creative talent of which I am tremendously proud to work side-by-side. Together, we are going to continue push the boundaries of creativity to drive brands.”

Mcgarrybowen’s third U.S. office, in San Francisco, continues to be led by managing director and ECD Marianne Besch.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.