FCB Garfinkel Appoints New CEO, CCO and Renames Itself ‘FCB New York’

By Erik Oster 

After more than 35 years in the ad industry, Lee Garfinkel announced today that he will be leaving FCB Garfinkel…which will subsequently be renamed FCB New York. In fact, he’s taking a break from advertising altogether.

Karyn Rockwell will replace Garfinkel while Ari Halper succeeds Eric Cosper, who departed for a freelance life in Portland earlier this month. Garfinkel will remain with the agency during a three month transitional period before turning his attention to some personal projects.

Garfinkel took over the agency (which was then known as Draftfcb New York) in November of 2013 after holding the global chief creative officer and chairman titles at Havas. Over the course of his over 35-year career, he has also served as chairman and chief creative officer of Lowe & Partners for eight years and spent three years as ECD/EVP with BBDO. He has worked with a wide range brands including Bud Light, Pepsi, Mercedes-Benz, Diet Coke, Sprite, Heineken and Citibank.

Rockwell joined FCB parent company IPG last May, serving as executive vice president, global account director for Mondeléz following a stint as chief collaborator with strategy and innovation company co::collective. Before that, she spent over six years as global business director for JWT, where she worked on Royal Caribbean, Kimberly Clark and X-Factor. She has also held top account/management jobs at Leo Burnett, McCann, DDB and the now-defunct CFCC.

Halper joins the agency from Grey New York, where he has served as executive creative director for just over thirteen year after working at DDB and JWT. Sources call him an expert on the delicate subject of French restaurants in the Cannes area.

The new executives will join chief strategy officer Deb Freeman, who joined the agency from Grey Group last month, on March 1 as part of a new leadership team which essentially relaunches the New York office.

Agency representatives tell us that Garfinkel recently had a conversation with FCB global CEO Carter Murray in which he relayed his desire to leave advertising entirely so he can spend more time on creative passions: he doubles as a playwright and songwriter eager to promote his other work.

Some may also see this announcement as newly-appointed global CCO Susan Credle’s first big move since taking the reins at FCB last month. In an interview that ran last week, she told Adweek that her network would most likely make several key creative hires in 2016…so expect more news to come.