Mullen Lowe President Kristen Cavallo to Step Down

By Patrick Coffee 

Today a spokesperson for Mullen Lowe confirmed that Kristen Cavallo, who ascended to the title of president at the agency’s Boston office in 2014, will step down from her position next month.

The given reason for her departure is unspecified family obligations that prevented her from permanently relocating from her home in Richmond, Virginia to Boston. Mullen made the announcement to its entire staff in a daylong meeting last Wednesday, and it did not come as a complete surprise to staffers.

Cavallo joined the IPG shop in 2011 as its chief strategy officer and took the title of president in March 2014, replacing Alex Leikikh after he was promoted to the CEO position. Since then, agency spokespeople tell us that the aforementioned obligations have required an increasing amount of her time and attention, leading agency management to decide that her role as the agency would have to change. “The game plan was for her to move to Boston, but that’s just not possible anymore,” the agency rep said.

Cavallo will not leave the Mullen organization. She will remain a Mullen Lowe employee based in Richmond, where she will focus on strategic development for such clients as American Greetings, Royal Caribbean and Indeed.com in addition to HR and talent development duties. An agency spokesperson describes the new role as one focused on “thought leadership” and calls it “open-ended,” suggesting that Cavallo will stay with Mullen Lowe for the foreseeable future.

Some sources suggest that Cavallo’s decision to step down reflects a shift in power within the Mullen Lowe organization from Boston to Los Angeles, but the agency rep dismissed that idea. The Boston office remains the network’s largest, and it continues to serve as the base of operations for both Mullen Lowe and Mediahub.

U.S. CEO Lee Newman, who joined the shop in June after three years running Ogilvy Chicago, is based in Los Angeles–but global chief Leikikh remains in Boston along with more than 400 of the agency’s approximately 650 employees.

Mediahub also recently hired Initiative’s Jonathan Fowles as chief media officer in the U.K. in an attempt to bring the media agency’s brand to that market in coming months.

Adweek’s David Gianatasio contributed to this post.

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