As our wise commenters predicted, Adam Kerj is out at J. Walter Thompson New York less than a year after joining the agency in the chief creative officer role. JWT named Brent Choi, who’s been running creative in Toronto since February 2013, as his replacement.
In the new role, Choi will lead both J. Walter Thompson Canada and the agency’s Manhattan office.
A quick refresher: last October Kerj replaced former CCO Jeff Benjamin, whose new project Disco recently placed second in the Lyft AOR competition behind Made Movement. (Alex Bogusky is an investor in both Lyft and Made Movement, but all parties insist there’s no conflict there. OK…)
The release says Kerj “departs the agency for personal reasons,” which means that he either got fired or threw up his hands. Kerj joined JWT after spending more than two years with 360i and he was replaced by Pierre Lipton, who retains the CCO position there.
Choi first entered the agency world as a copywriter at Y&R and Publicis before he (like so many Canadian creatives) spent time at the now-defunct Lowe Roche as an ACD. He later served as SVP and co-CD at Saatchi & Saatchi before moving to indie shop Cundari and, in 2013, becoming a JWT employee.
Throughout his career, Choi has earned quite a few awards including multiple CLIOs and served on juries at Cannes, the Bessies, the National Advertising Awards, etc.
He will report directly to global CCO Matt Eastwood, who says that “for some time, I’ve wanted Brent to take on a larger role in the network,” and describes him as “a brilliant creative, a leader and consummate professional” with “a stellar track record of transforming businesses and solving business problems through creativity.”
He will also “partner with Lynn Power, President of J. Walter Thompson New York, to deliver the same creative and new business success in the company’s global flagship office.” He won’t be moving to New York full-time, though–and after watching Anthony Bourdain visit Toronto we don’t know that we can blame him.
“I was excited to join the agency a few years ago, and I’m equally thrilled to build upon Canada’s success and contribute to the great work our New York office is doing. It’s clear evidence of the incredible energy that Matt and Gustavo Martinez have infused, not only into New York, but the network worldwide.”
The big question: will he make a million dollars a year like Jeff Benjamin (allegedly) did?! We hear nothing, which means no.