Carmichael Lynch Chairman to Exit

CHICAGO Carmichael Lynch chairman and former chief creative officer Jack Supple will leave the Interpublic Group agency at the end of July, the agency confirmed. He’s been with the agency for 27 years.

“After 27 years of doing ads about freedom, individualism and the quest for adventure, they finally took,” Supple said about ads for client such as Harley-Davidson, Porsche and Schwinn, which carried headlines like “If you didn’t have to answer to anyone, what would you do?” (Harley) and “This is what a dog feels like when the leash breaks” (Porsche).

Supple, 54, joined the agency as a writer in 1979. He moved up through the ranks to become executive creative director in 1987 and president of the agency in 1992. In 2000, he assumed the role of chairman and chief creative officer when John Colasanti became president. In 2004, Supple and Colasanti hired Peter McHugh as the shop’s chief creative officer.

“I’ve been through all roles here. This last one is not satisfying to me,” Supple said. “In my current role, I feel underutilized. Being chairman is like being Chuck E. Cheese. You’re like a fun character. You’re there … [But] you’re not as involved as you’d like to be.”

Diving back into agency jobs he had done before wasn’t desirable because then he would be “stepping over all the roles I established [for others] here. … There’s no going back. I don’t have any plan to go anywhere. I think the place is changing and that is good,” he said.

“He made the agency what it is, more than anybody else,” Colasanti said. “He’s guided our transition from a relatively unknown Midwest agency to a nationally recognized powerhouse. Without Jack’s contributions, most of us and many of our clients wouldn’t be where they are today.”

Supple stressed he was not retiring from the advertising business, though he added he had no established plan for his next move. “I’m going to get back in the business in the fall,” he said. “I want to do something in the business. I want to put something together about heart, soul and gut.”

During Supple’s years at Carmichael Lynch the shop has expanded from 65 to more than 300 people. Its billings have increased to more than $400 million. He also engineered the agency’s sale to the Interpublic Group of Companies. in 1997. He said it’s unlikely his next venture would be a part of a holding company.

“I’m going to see what life is like in the Outer-public Group of Companies,” Supple quipped.