Y&R Chicago Signs mcgarrybowen, FCB Vet as President

By Patrick Coffee 

john fraserOur tipsters were correct again: Y&R just named John Fraser, an agency vet most recently with mcgarrybowen, as president of its Chicago office.

Tomorrow, Fraser officially replaces Kary McIlwain, who will assume the non-executive chairman role effective immediately. This move follows last week’s appointment of Alex Hughes to the global CMO position.

A longtime Chicago native who served as media supervisor at Leo Burnett and SVP/group management director at FCB Global before launching the Windy City’s Element79 and Brand Team Partners, Fraser joined mcgarrybowen almost exactly three years ago, acting as COO and group managing director and handling multiple unnamed accounts.


In the release, Global CEO David Sable calls Fraser “an inspiring leader with deep knowledge of the Chicago market” who is “perfectly suited to our culture and client base.” He also praises McIlwain, who he names “a great champion of her people and a steadfast advocate for her clients and their brands.”

McIlwain, who will remain with the agency in the non-executive role in order to “assure a smooth transition,” will soon end her 26-year stint with Y&R. She joined the agency in the early 90’s on the new business side before handling strategy for Miller/Miller Lite and ascending to the president position in 1999.

Last week, a source told us that the pending change stemmed from “a lack of new business development” — and Fraser will begin working to remedy that issue this week.