A major creative shift has begun at Publicis’ MRY as CCO David Weinstock and executive creative director Leo Leone announced their pending departures at almost exactly the same time this month.
“We’re all really fortunate to have worked with them during their long tenure here,” said agency CMO David Berkowitz, “and we will be drawing on our deep creative bench for leading the team going forward – notably James Wood, who joined us two years ago and will be taking the helm of the group.”
We recently heard of changes in unnamed accounts at MRY, which was folded into Starcom MediaVest in 2014 and now operates as part of the Publicis Media “solution hub” run by ZenithOptimedia CEO Steve King. Berkowitz, however, says that the resignations are not related to any business shifts. Both creative leaders have accepted positions outside MRY, though it’s not clear at the moment where either party will go.
Weinstock spent six years with the “creative and technology agency” after working as a CD for Euro RSCG (now Havas) from 2006 to 2011. He is also a visiting professor at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute. Leone, who joined MRY as a group creative director in 2013 and got the ECD promotion less than one year ago, began his career as a programmer and art director for various digital businesses before moving into the agency world with a flash developer job at Fallon and creative roles with DDB and LBi (now DigitasLBi).
Wood has been MRY group creative director for two years after working as an executive creative at mcgarrybowen from 2008 to 2014, and it’s not clear whether his title will change moving forward.
Sources tell us that Weinstock and Leone were not the only members of MRY’s creative department to leave. Berkowitz declined to elaborate on staffing moves beyond the news regarding the CCO and ECD, attributing any additional departures to “normal agency attrition.”
MRY also gave us no official comment on future plans regarding its creative leadership, but this news certainly heightens the likelihood of hiring announcements to come. We hear that the loss of both leaders surprised agency executives and that, in an odd coincidence, they had no knowledge of the news before giving one other notice of their respective resignations.
The shop’s most recent business win concerned social media AOR duties on the T-Mobile account. Following that (still unofficial) news, MRY announced plans to open an office in Seattle so as to better serve T-Mobile and other area clients like Starbucks, Visa and Microsoft.