Big Changes at Deutsch (with Internal Memo)

By Patrick Coffee 

Deutsch Inc. has big plans for 2015, according to an agency-wide internal memo that went out this afternoon.

Following the Pizza Hut and Sprint wins, the year begins with several big staffing changes at the agency, most prominent among them being the appointment of LA CEO Mike Sheldon to the position of North American CEO and the departure of Donny Deutsch, who has been “a non-active Chairman for the past several years.”

Deutsch LA is the big winner in the new arrangement, which also sees CCO Pete Favat promoted to chief creative for the entire North American organization.


COO Kim Getty will assume the presidency of the West Coast office while LA-based SVP/Director of Business Development Jeff White will be North American EVP/CMO.

The biggest surprise in the announcement may be the fact that very little will change at the agency’s New York office.

Here’s the note from current North American CEO Linda Sawyer, who will soon replace Deutsch as chairman:

Deutschers –

I am pleased to share with you some exciting news about the future of Deutsch. I am announcing our succession plans and appointing Mike Sheldon as North American CEO overseeing both the LA and NY offices. Mike will report to me as I take on the role of Chairman. Donny, who has been a non-active Chairman for the past several years, becomes Chairman Emeritus. He will formally end his relationship with the agency at the end of March 2015 as he begins work on his recently announced new USA Network show.

Those of you who have had the pleasure to work with Mike know he has a big heart and big brains to match. Under Mike’s 17-year run, the LA office has grown from a handful of people to what is now the largest agency on the West Coast. He has built strong client relationships, has an innate ability to attract top-tier talent, land new business and to foster our culture. Beyond Mike’s business skills, you’ll find a down to earth guy who is the epitome of a fearless leader. It will be exciting to see how Mike helps write the next chapter of our agency.

New York will continue to be run under the strong leadership of Val DiFebo, CEO, and her management team. Val’s tenaciousness and unstoppable passion has made her a true force at the agency. She is an inspiring leader focused on influencing client’s business results through creative solutions.

Additionally, Mike and I are making a few other changes. To help grow both offices we have tapped Winston Binch as Chief Digital Officer North America, and Pete Favat as Chief Creative Officer North America. They will work hand-in-hand with both offices to maximize talent, share best practices and sharpen the tools in our toolbox.

Winston is a highly respected digital leader in our business. Since joining four years ago he has built a team of 190 digital specialists. As a result, digital is now

35% of the LA office’s revenue. Pete has been with LA for just over a year. In that time he has attracted top-tier talent, helped the office win eight pieces of new business, and bought home eight Lion’s from Cannes.

Mike and I are also happy to announce that current Partner, Chief Operating Officer Kim Getty is being appointed President, Deutsch LA. Over the years Kim has been responsible for helping manage LA’s fast-paced growth. Under her ambitious and get-it-done leadership, Kim has nurtured a world-class department of entrepreneurial thinkers and expanded services in experiential, public relations, and multicultural marketing.

And finally, SVP, Director of Business Development in LA, Jeff White, is being promoted to EVP, Chief Marketing Officer, North America. Deutsch LA has had some banner years, and working with the vast talent in both offices, Jeff will help generate even more new business for Deutsch.

Donny’s legacy, along with his father David’s, will be an enduring part of who we are. Every one of us will continue to make them proud. The Deutsch brand has always been dynamic, passionate and progressive. This leadership team, along with the strong and talented teams we have in NY and LA are going to be an unstoppable force in this industry.

Next Wednesday, January 21st, Val will be arranging an agency meeting in the afternoon to introduce you to Mike, and hopefully Winston, Pete and Jeff will join. It will be a nice opportunity for everyone to have a chance to connect with one another. More details to follow on this.

Please join me in congratulating Mike and the entire team of executives. 2015 is going to be a landmark year for us.