BBDO Installs Mike McKay as San Fran ECD

BBDO has recruited Mike McKay, creative chief of Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles, as executive creative director of its San Francisco office. Jim Lesser, who currently holds that title, becomes chairman.

McKay, who will begin working at BBDO in January, joins the agency’s new management team of Lesser, managing director Brent Smart and director of behavioral planning Nick Bartle.

“Our California office has always had a special place in my heart; it’s where I began my BBDO career,” said David Lubars, chairman and chief creative officer of BBDO North America.

Lubars said the management changes were made to further the growth of the agency, which this year has added new business from Vail Resorts, Uncle Ben’s, 8th Continent soy milk and Gallo.

“I am confident that Mike’s award-winning creative pedigree, combined with Jim’s proven leadership abilities, will lead to even greater growth and best-in-class work,” Lubars said.

At Saatchi & Saatchi in Torrance, Calif., McKay, 43, oversaw a creative department of about 60 people and helmed Toyota’s popular “Swagger Wagon” campaign for the Sienna minivan that features the rapping Sienna family.

He joined the agency in 2008 from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, where he was a creative director and worked on brands such as Comcast, HP, Haagen-Dazs, Netflix and Budweiser.

McKay, who will oversee a creative department of about 30 at BBDO S.F., said he decided to join BBDO to work with Lubars and a broader range of clients.

“[David] has done so much incredible stuff the last few years, I wanted to be part of that network and continue the growth in [San Francisco],” said McKay.

Lesser, who joined BBDO in 1999 as an associate cd from Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco, said he has admired McKay’s work for a long time, particularly his achievements on Toyota during a challenging economic climate. “He has a combination of spectacular work and a great personality,” said Lesser.

With the addition of McKay, Lesser said he would take on a greater role in growing and marketing the agency. “I am very excited to take on the chairman role,” he said.