Carroll Joins TBWA/C/D

As Bob Kuperman likes to say, TBWA/Chiat/Day “doesn’t rebuild; it reloads.”
Looking to add more executive talent, the agency is hiring Tom Carroll of Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG in New York as president and chief executive officer of its flagship office in Playa del Rey, Calif., agency representative Jeremy Miller confirmed last week. The move is effective immediately.
Carroll, 43, will be involved with all accounts and clients at the Southern California office, including its largest client, Nissan Motor Corp. U.S.A., added Miller. The former Chiat/Day executive will report directly to Kuperman, president and chief executive officer of the Americas for TBWA Worldwide.
Carroll could not be reached for comment last week. Ron Berger, MVBMS’ chairman and chief executive, declined to comment on whether Carroll was leaving the shop.
The move could suspend Kuperman’s search for a heavyweight to succeed Tom Patty, former TBWA/C/D president and Nissan worldwide account director, said sources. Kuperman is also looking for a full-time creative director in the New York office to replace departed chief creative officer Eric McClellan.
The Southern California office ranks as the largest agency on the West Coast, handling over $1.4 billion in billings from clients such as Nissan, Apple Computer, Taco Bell, ABC and Sony PlayStation. It is the single biggest office under the aegis of parent TBWA Worldwide, and the main engine of TBWA/C/D’s $1.9 billion, four-office North American network.
Carroll, recently promoted to managing director and partner for business development at MVBMS, is known as a charismatic leader and an expert in new business, account management and account planning. In November he led MVBMS’ winning pitch for the $40 million account of Universal Studios Escape, a new Florida theme park, beating TBWA/C/D. The Schenectady, N.Y., native has also played a key role in other MVBMS wins, including Oppenheimer Funds and Evian.
Carroll is familiar with the Chiat/Day culture, having served as one of the youngest vice presidents in its history at the New York and Los Angeles offices from 1984-89. During that time he worked on accounts such as Pizza Hut and Miller.
After leaving Chiat/Day in 1989, Carroll served in a number of capacities for various agencies. He co-founded Carroll Raj Stagliano, New York, which later merged with Weiss Whitten to form creative hot shop Weiss, Whitten, Carroll, Stagliano. He joined MVBMS as a partner in 1995. Through the years, he has maintained a close relationship with both Kuperman and Lee Clow, chief creative officer worldwide, said sources.
While the Southern California office has grown rapidly in the last few years, several of its leaders, including Kuperman and chief marketing officer Laurie Coots, are handling more global and North American duties, spending less time in California. The hire is seen as a move by Clow and Kuperman, the former chief executive in Venice, Calif., to bring back more of the old Chiat/Day culture.
“Kuperman is a big presence; when he’s around people are on the edge of their chairs,” said one source. “They need that kind of presence when he’s not around, too.”
Separately, there were reports at press time that DaimlerChrysler is talking to Tokyo-based Nissan about a possible deal. The two automakers have held sporadic talks for several months about Nissan’s diesel unit.