MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER Parts Ways with Its Leadership Team in New York

By Erik Oster 

MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER is looking for a new leadership team in New York just over a year after opening its second office.

Earlier this month, the agency parted ways with three executives in Manhattan: president Nick Johnson, executive creative director Jay Benjamin and director of strategy Nick Chapman.

“We can confirm we have parted ways with with Nick Johnson, Nick Chapman and Jay Benjamin. They have put in great effort in helping us launch the New York office, and we thank them for all their hard work. We have exciting things on the horizon in New York and are conducting a thorough search for a new management team to help us,” an agency spokesperson said in a statement. “We wish them all the best of luck with their future endeavors.”

“We were incredibly thankful for the opportunity to open the New York office, but we came as a team and, when things changed, we decided to leave as a team too,” Benjamin said.

A source close to the matter claimed the departures stemmed from revenue concerns, but the agency spokesperson declined to comment. For the time being, the remaining staffers in New York will reportedly focus on projects out of the agency’s San Francisco headquarters, which recently won project work for Lyft and regularly works with clients like Audi, SoFi and Netflix.

The New York office officially opened last September, four months after London-based VCCP formed a “creative partnership” with the agency for an undisclosed sum. Gotham and Venables Bell & Partners veteran Nick Johnson came on to run the office while Jay Benjamin, who had recently left his job as chief creative officer at Saatchi & Saatchi New York, took the lead creative role. Chapman later joined from Ogilvy Red, where he’d been a VP and global consulting partner.

When news of the Manhattan office first broke, multiple parties told us that the team there would primarily focus on new business. It is not clear whether any of the leaders have accepted other jobs but, as noted in the statement above, the search for their replacements has already begun.

MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER has undergone a series of changes in 2017 after starting the year by promoting four executives to associate partner status in San Francisco. Several months later the agency went through a small round of layoffs at both of its offices before hiring three new department leads including Airbnb’s Paul Stechschulte, Media Arts Lab veteran Tanya LeSieur and Katie Ramp of Heat.

Most recently, Terri Miller became the San Francisco office’s first managing director. Like Ramp, she had previously spent several years with Heat and left after it was acquired by international consultancy Deloitte.