Arnold Global CEO Fran Kelly: Demoted

By Matt Van Hoven 

Yesterday, Arnold Chairman Ed Eskandarian informed staff, which he calls “One Arnold”, that EuroRSCG NY Co-CEO and Global Chief Strategy Officer Andrew Benett is taking over. That means Fran Kelly is out after four years in that role. He’s been relegated to vice-chairman and will “focus on select client relationships and identifying an[d] cultivating new business opportunities for the agency.”

In about an hour, Benett will address the agency in a meeting at the Mandarin Hotel in Boston. Presumably, he’ll talk about how excited he is for the opportunity. But Eskandarian’s memo to staff says more about why the change was made than he’d ever admit publicly. Three paragraphs for Benett, two half-hearted sentences for Kelly. See the note after the jump.

The Boston Globe quoted Boston University advertising professor Chris Cakebread who said, “Arnold clearly needed something new in terms of restimulating its ability to win and maintain new accounts. They brought in this guy to revive the agency to its former stature.”

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One Arnold:

I want to share some very exciting news. Today, one of the most successful CEOs in the agency business will begin the transition to bring his strategic experience, digital marketing expertise and commitment to growth, of our company and our people, to Boston to lead the Arnold micronetwork. Andrew Benett, currently co-CEO of EuroRSCG New York and chief strategy officer of Euro’s global network of more than 200 offices, will become our global CEO.

At Euro, Andrew helped the profile and size of the New York shop grow substantially, fueled by strong organic growth, rapid digital expansion and innovative acquisitions. He led a creative team that not only served existing clients exceptionally well, but also attracted exciting new ones such as Dos Equis, Heineken and numerous GSK pharmaceutical brands.

I am confident Andrew will expand our already robust strengths in creative, integration and the delivery of business results. He will also push us ahead in the areas of digital, social networking and outstanding client service, ensuring our continuation as a top creative brand into the future. Andrew is a smart, likeable, driven, impressive guy. You will like him, and his passion for doing great work and growing clients’ business is infectious.

After four years as CEO and sixteen years at Arnold, Fran Kelly will move into the role of vice chairman. His focus will be on select client relationships and identifying an cultivating new business opportunities for the agency. I will continue in my role as Arnold’s chairman.

Congratulations to Andrew and Fran in their new roles.

For those of you in Boston, we invite you to meet and hear from Andrew at 4:30 this afternoon in the Oriental Ballroom of the Mandarin Hotel.* Please be there.