Chuck Phillips, the North American chief technology officer for WPP/J. Walter Thompson digital network Mirum, stepped down this week.
Phillips had served as director of tech and CTO at Digiteria, which JWT acquired in 2010. He then became the CTO at Mirum in January when Digiteria joined forces with related units from around the world to form “a new global company” with “principles rooted in innovation, design, data and marketing and capabilities.”
His departure follows that of president and COO Doug Hecht, who stepped down in September to continue his career as an entrepreneur. He’s now a capital partner for Seed San Diego and an Angel Investor in more than 30 startups, none of which we’ve ever heard of. (Hecht writes that he managed Digiteria’s 2010 acquisition after co-founding the company in 1997.)
We have a couple of competing narratives regarding the move: one holds that Phillips’ resignation surprised many within the relatively small San Diego ad community, in which he was widely respected.
Another source tells us that Phillips’ departure, like that of Hecht before him, was simply a natural part of the agency life cycle and that it was not unexpected. On that front, we hear that Phillips wanted to take on a more independently entrepreneurial role moving forward. Mirum is not currently looking for a replacement, and its London-based global CTO Matt Webb will continue in his current role. Also–contrary to earlier reports–Digiteria’s two original founding partners remain with Mirum: they’re chief design officer Daiga Atvara and global/North American CEO Dan Khabie.
Phillips declined to comment to MediaPost late yesterday, but Khabie gave us this statement:
“Chuck Phillips, Chief Technology Officer at Mirum North America, will be leaving us at the end of the year to pursue new ventures. We are thankful for his contributions both to Mirum and Digitaria, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
Here’s an interesting side note: Mirum employees were obligated to stay at the San Diego office overnight yesterday in order to “strategize to solve the California drought” in what the agency is calling #Mirum24. We hear that North American chief creative officer and Razorfish vet Frederic Bonn (who joined over the summer) came up with the idea and that some staffers may have been skeptical regarding their ability to bring California’s myriad climate/water problems to an end.
Thankfully, while H20 is scarce on the coast, alcohol most definitely is not.
— Greg Rolnick (@GregRolnick) December 4, 2015
Mirum also has a sense of humor about the morning after. We wonder whether anyone got overtime.
— Mirum_US (@Mirum_US) December 4, 2015
To summarize, we don’t know exactly why Phillips left or what he will be doing next, but we do know that he’ll be doing it without a Facebook profile.
Study Finds Quitting Facebook Makes You Happier and Less Stressed https://t.co/J0uqPbXvmN
— Chuck Phillips (@chuckphillips) December 4, 2015
That sounds like a pretty good idea to us right now.