Chief Strategy Officer, TripAdvisor Account Leave Johannes Leonardo

By Patrick Coffee 

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New York’s Johannes Leonardo has parted ways with its chief strategy officer and an undisclosed number of additional employees after losing the TripAdvisor business.

While the agency has also hired several key staffers in recent months and continues to work with a number of big-name clients, the loss is significant–Digiday’s May profile listed TripAdvisor as one of the shop’s largest accounts along with Coke, Google and, of course, Adidas.

From a client spokesperson:

“TripAdvisor is no longer working with Johannes Leonardo. We are thankful for the creative TV work the agency has done for us as we expanded the U.S. ad campaign and launched it in international markets.

We will not be looking for a new agency at this time. While we’ve seen success in many countries, and we’re pleased with our TV efforts over the past couple years, we have decided to put this marketing channel on pause for the moment.”

JL won the business in an early 2014 pitch that allegedly pitted the agency against Droga5, GS&P and Leo Burnett’s now-defunct New York office.

tripadvisorIt appears that the client will take its marketing work in-house and stop creating TV campaigns for the time being. Coincidentally, analysts cut their earnings estimates for TripAdvisor earlier this week.

Multiple sources confirm that chief strategy officer Andrew Dawson, who got the gig in July after serving as chief creative officer at New York audio company Master & Dynamic, is no longer with Johannes Leonardo. (He’d previously worked in the planning departments of R/GA, FCB and McCann.) We also hear that “several” other employees, including at least one junior-level creative, left the agency this week.

There’s some disagreement over whether the fact that JL will no longer work with Playstation amounts to a loss. Some claim that the two parties only worked together on a standalone project for the launch of Playstation Vue, but another source close to the matter tells us that the agency participated in two full pitches for Playstation’s business over the past year before the Vue account went to Venables Bell & Partners.

The agency has made several high-profile hires in recent months, chief among them that of group strategic planning director Mark Aronson (formerly with BBH New York).

Other additions include director of client services Emily Wilcox, who ran the General Mills business at Saatchi & Saatchi. Around the same time Dawson joined the agency, JL also hired a new head of operations and poached two ACDs from Havas to work on the Mondelez business.

Now-former CEO and Deutsch vet Mike Duda also left in May, and JL has yet to announce a replacement. This week, however, Duda did name his new venture: a creative agency called Bullish, Inc.

It’s unclear whether Johannes Leonardo is currently hiring for the CSO or CEO positions.

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