Internal Memo: Ogilvy Parts With Former Chicago CEO and Chairman Jack Rooney

By Patrick Coffee Comment

The biggest news out of Ogilvy this week is the abrupt termination of worldwide CCO Tham Khai Meng following an internal investigation.

Yesterday, however, the agency announced the departure of another longtime agency leader: Jack Rooney. The news came in the form of an all-staff memo from U.S. CEO Lou Aversano.

Rooney is a 35-year veteran of the ad industry who worked three different stints at the Ogilvy organization in San Francisco and Chicago. He also spent time at other agencies as well as Miller Brewing, where he was vice president of marketing.

He may be best known for leading the successful 2011 SC Johnson pitch and heading the Chicago office as chairman and CEO before transitioning into a role as head of U.S. integration in early 2017.

The reasons for Rooney’s departure are unclear, as are his future plans. We reached out to him for comment but did not receive a response.

What is clear, however, is the high esteem in which his colleagues hold him. One former Ogilvy employee called him “a true leader and a stand-up guy.”

Here’s the note:

One of the many joys of Ogilvy is working with all the wonderful people you get to know while being a part of this great agency. For me, Jack Rooney is one of those people. Therefore, it is bittersweet that I am writing today to let you know that Jack will be leaving Ogilvy at the end of this month to begin his own next chapter.

Jack first joined Ogilvy back in 1984 as an account executive in San Francisco and has been a part of the Ogilvy family ever since. He rejoined us in 2000 to take on the BP business and then rejoined again in 2007, leading our operation in Chicago. During this time Jack helped build a strong and vibrant team that has accomplished so much, including helping win the SCJ business.

While Jack is physically leaving our halls, we are blessed with so much of what he leaves behind: a powerful sense of culture and pride among our people, and a strong leadership team with Cathy Francque, Michele Anderson and Joe Sciarrotta in place to take our Chicago location forward. You feel the Ogilvy brand when you walk the halls in Chicago. We owe much of that to Jack.

Please join me in wishing Jack all the best in his new adventure, and please take a moment to let him tell you why he loves Ogilvy. I promise you that it will not only delight you, it will inspire you. I know it inspired me.

Thank you for all that you have given us, Jack. You will be missed, but you will always be part of the Ogilvy family.