More Executive Departures Amid Account Changes at MRY

By Patrick Coffee 

More top executives including both members of the new business team have departed amid big ongoing changes at social and digital media-focused agency MRY.

As part of Maurice Levy’s suprise reorganization at the end of 2015, Publicis placed MRY under its new Media solutions hub (don’t call it a silo) along with Starcom MediaVest, Zenith Optimedia, Moxie and others.

Several weeks later, we began receiving a steady stream of tips about changes in some of the agency’s accounts and subsequent resignations. In the middle of February, CCO David Weinstock and executive creative director Leo Leone announced their pending departures at around the same time. Leone went to Edelman Digital New York, where he will lead a team of fifteen creating digital content for the Samsung business. Weinstock’s plans are not yet clear.

Today we can confirm more high-level departures across the organization:

  • VP of global brand development Vishal Sapra
  • Chief growth officer Evan Kraut
  • MRY West managing director Kingsley Taylor
  • MRY West head of strategy Shauna Axton

Sapra and Kraut constituted the agency’s new business team, and Taylor joined MRY in the summer of 2014 after leading new business for David&Goliath. None of the three have announced new positions, though Axton recently launched her own consultancy in the Bay Area.

Our tipsters classify these as resignations, and we hear that they come amidst a general wave of departures occurring under pressure from the larger Starcom MediaVest organization (Publicis Media is led by ZenithOptimedia CEO Steve King). We do not have specific numbers at this time, but sources tell us the total number of departures will reach the mid-double-digit range.

Sources close to the matter confirm that the cause of these staffing shifts is a change in at least one of the agency’s biggest accounts. We’ve yet to receive clarification regarding which piece of business this might be, though a Coca-Cola spokesperson told us today that the soft drink giant continues to work with MRY on various experiential projects.

As 2015’s “Mediapalooza” winds down, Starcom MediaVest has endured a string of major losses in North America including Coca-Cola, P&G and, most recently, Walmart. The agency laid off more than 80 staffers this Monday as part of what it calls a “routine restructuring plan.

If you believe that, we hear there’s a very nice bridge in Brooklyn going for a reasonable price…

MRY has seen some positive changes in recent months as well. Back in October, the agency won social media AOR duties for T-Mobile and then announced that it would open a new office in Seattle to work on that account and others.

A spokesperson for MRY declined to comment for this post.