CEO Andrew Keller and ECD Evan Fry Out at CP+B

By Patrick Coffee 

An era ends at Crispin, Porter + Bogusky: partner, ECD and CEO Andrew Keller has been “phased out” out of the agency after 17 years. ECD Evan Fry, who joined in 2012 after leading creative at Victors & Spoils, has also left CP+B effective immediately.

The responsible parties are Chuck Porter and recently-appointed global CEO Lori Senecal, who told Adweek this morning that “management structure has been a top priority in recent months.”

Porter says, “We looked at everything and realized that having an overall creative head at the agency doesn’t produce the best work.”

Senecal herself is a bit more blunt:

“Over the past few months we’ve worked to create a much more modern agency to do the best work. In looking at agency roles, we asked ‘Are they directly contributing to that?’ If not, let’s get rid of them. We don’t want to slow things down.”

Porter also says that Keller held “more of a strategic and creative role” at a time when the organization wants to focus more intently on the business side of things.

Keller, who has a well-documented soft spot for Journey and Def Leppard, will officially part ways with the MDC organization next month.

Evan Fry, who originally resigned from the Crispin organization in 2009 and went to Victors & Spoils, is already gone. His statement, taken from his Facebook page:

“Yesterday marked the end of a long, poignant and impactful run for me at Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

Aside from being interrupted for an amazing three-year experience where I helped found and build Victors & Spoils, CP+B had been my professional home to grow and develop – both professionally and personally – since late 2002. I’ve seen the agency change a lot during those years. But during it all, it had always remained CP+B at its core, largely by growing from within. But just as these are new times in the holding-company leagues, it is also a new era in the modern leagues. An era where a burgeoning, nimble batch of smart and empowered decision makers are making good with ideas and brands – doing it fast, and keeping it fun. It’s an era where creating something brilliant that can truly resonate with the world is both more needed, and – if done with strategic and creative gut-trust – more effective than ever. A time where it is possible to strip away non-doers and make what works, by working directly with decision makers and collaborating honestly and decisively. To produce and launch ideas that can be discovered and shared and that leave people reacting and acting.

So the timing for this change is good. I am blessed with inspiration, partners, connections, opportunities, support and passion. This is truly a going toward phase. An onward phase. An upward phase.

I’d like to thank CP+B for everything. And I’d like to thank Alex Bogusky most of all, for nobody has ever taught me more in business. I wish CP+B all the continued success it is seeking. And I wish you guys luck. I will miss you all. Stay tuned for a new website from me after a bit of time on two wheels in BC and Vermont. And thanks again.”

The news at CP+B isn’t all about layoffs, though.

In the Adweek post, the agency finally confirms its recent PayPal win and mentions other new business, most of which will be handled by Crispin’s Brazilian office (key accounts include GM, Unilever and Stella Artois).

On the creative staffing side, CP+B recently hired ECD Kevin Jones in L.A., Robert Lund in New York and Gustavo Sarkis in Miami. Last month the organization poached Mekanism’s Eric Zuncic to run strategy for North America. Earlier this summer, the larger MDC organization also created a new “president of global brands” position for Bill Grogan, who is married to Lori Senecal.

This latest move follows a gradual hollowing-out of the CP+B tech department. Moving forward, it would seem that Crispin aims to become a more streamlined organization focused on brand development projects over traditional creative campaigns.