Calise Leaves Gleason to Form Agency in Dallas

Charlie Calise, chief executive officer of Gleason/Calise/Associates, has departed the troubled shop to launch a new venture.

Calise, who joined Matthew Gleason’s Dallas agency in 1991, last week opened Calise and Partners.

“I’ve been interested for quite some time in putting together a lower overhead agency given the economic situation we’re facing today,” Calise said. “I see this time as a real opportunity to do something that’s a little smarter and a little simpler.”

He summarized his new operation as an attempt “to do original work and communicate it across any medium.”

The new Dallas advertising agency has, as yet, no clients. Calise said he plans to employ a handfulof staff members by year’s end.

Calise is the latest of several top executives to leave Gleason/Calise. Management personnel who have left include former chief operating officer Laura Shepherd and group account director Diane McKenna.

The agency has seen its ranks dwindle from 50 to about 25 employees since the beginning of the year.

The executive positions probably will not be filled soon, said Gleason executive vice president and creative director Don Sedei.

“We still have our clients, but it’s a tough market, tough on new business,” Sedei said.

Client spending levels have been reduced across the board, and the agency has gained only one new account this year, that of rent-to-own chain ColorTyme.

On the timing of his departure, Calise said, “Matthew and I have been discussing my desire to move on for some time. We had a great run together. Now is the right time for me to move into the next phase of my career.

“There’s room in this market for [more] agencies to deliver really creative work,” he said.

During his tenure at G/C/A, Calise worked with clients including Don Pablo’s, State Fair Foods, Alcatel USA, Fujitsu North America, Arby’s and Mary Kay.