Chairman Linda Sawyer to Leave Deutsch at the End of the Year

By Patrick Coffee 

Linda Sawyer, chairman and former CEO of the Deutsch network, will be leaving the agency world entirely at the end of this year after 27 years. Her current role will be filled by North American chief executive Mike Sheldon as of Jan. 1, 2017.

According to the release, Sawyer plans to launch an unnamed ecommerce project early next year after making her break with the world of advertising.

In a statement, IPG chairman and CEO Michael Roth said:


“Anyone who knows Linda is aware that she combines a great understanding of our industry with a dynamic management style. That’s why she’s been able to build a fantastic team at Deutsch during her long tenure at the agency. She’s a fierce protector of her people and her agency, as well as a partner who clients know will always make their success her top priority. Along with everyone at Deutsch, I thank Linda for her dedication and commitment.”

Sawyer herself had this to say:

“Deutsch’s ambition to innovate and pioneer change is ingrained in our culture. With our succession plans in place, Mike’s strong leadership and a dynamic and wildly talented management line up, the agency is well poised for the next chapter. It’s an ideal time for me to pursue a new challenge and I will be launching an exciting and highly disruptive ecommerce venture to be announced in the Spring. I will fondly miss my Deutsch family but will always be rooting behind the scenes.”

The departing chairman joined Deutsch back in 1989, and the release tells us that its overall revenue has increased by a factor of ten since that date. She got the CEO bump back in 2005 as Donny Deutsch became chairman, later leaving the network altogether to take on his new role as TV star and commentator.

Sawyer ascended to the chairman role early last year as Sheldon got promoted to CEO of Deutsch North America and Pete Favat got the CCO nod. In the internal memo, she wrote: “Those of you who have had the pleasure to work with Mike know he has a big heart and big brains to match. … 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.” She also noted Favat’s role in leading Deutsch’s move toweard digital while discussing his promotion.

Responding to her announcement, Sheldon said, “She will be leaving an amazing legacy. Knowing Linda, her next adventure is going to be a game changer.”

An agency spokesperson did not elaborate on the news or provide further details about Sawyer’s upcoming, highly disruptive project.

This may be hard to believe, but Sawyer interviewed with AgencySpy back in 2010. Unfortunately, we can’t seem to get the video to work…